SELINSGROVE – Snyder County Law Enforcement and Probation Officers are now available to help drug addicts seek treatment without fear of arrest.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday that Snyder was the 13th county in Pennsylvania to join the Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI) launched in 2018 in Somerset County at the height of the opioid crisis. The program has helped more than 100 drug addicts enter treatment “and recover”, he said.
Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch said LETI aims to “de-stigmatize” and not criminalize addiction by helping those in need seek treatment through collaboration with addiction services. CMSU Drug and Alcohol. The individual must voluntarily seek treatment by approaching law enforcement or accept it at their request, and will be permitted to leave at any time without legal repercussions.
“The main job of a police officer is public safety. Our law enforcement officers see people who need these services the most every day,” he said.
Shamokin Dam Police Chief Timothy Bremigen said he and his officers have already encouraged people with substance abuse disorders to get help. He said LETI will provide police, sheriff’s deputies, parole and probation officers with the training needed to hone their ability to identify people in trouble and help them.
Bremigen’s own family have suffered the loss of a relative to painkiller addiction and understand the impact the disease has not only on families, but also on society and the economy.
“It’s about taking care of the people who live in our communities,” he said.
Billy Robe, pastor of the Sunbury-based Recovery Church Ministry, who sought treatment years ago at the suggestion of a probation officer in Philadelphia, called LETI “an incredible opportunity”. Like Piecuch and Bremigen, he expects those struggling with addiction to reach out.
“I thought they would be afraid to seek treatment, but that’s not the case,” he said.
Barbara Gorrell, administrator of substance abuse and alcohol services at CMSU, said staff are available around the clock to assess each individual to determine appropriate treatment.
“We are ready to accept referrals,” she said.
Shapiro said the program was urgently needed to address the ongoing opioid crisis that continues to claim many lives. Last year, 5,172 Pennsylvanians died from addiction.
“We cannot stop our way from this problem. Drug addiction is a disease, not a crime,” he said. “We provide a safe haven for people to seek help. If there is not more access to treatment, we will lose more lives.
The program, however, does not mean the state is easing drug traffickers, he said. Since 2017, there have been 6,300 arrests of mid- to high-level drug traffickers and the removal of 6.7 million doses of opioids from the streets of Pennsylvania.
LETI currently operates in Northumberland, Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Clearfield, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Mifflin, Montgomery, Schuylkill and Somerset counties