Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office to open doors to drug addicts

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U.S. Military

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is working on implementing an open door policy for drug users, where addicts can turn over any drugs in exchange for help and not be charged criminally.

“I just see people using officers as a resource, somebody that they can contact and speak to if they have an issue like this and they want to get into treatment,” said Victoria D’Agostino, with Charlotte Behavioral Health Care, a recovery center working hand in hand with the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office is modeling the program after one in Massachusetts, where more than 300 addicts received the help they needed.

“I don’t think that historically folks with addiction issues have looked to officers as a resource for them, but I think that’ll be a mind shift,” said D’Agostino.

Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell says he hopes the program will have positive results in the county.

“We really don’t know exactly what we’re getting in for, but we anticipate that folks will be using this program,” said D’Agostino.

Charlotte Behavioral Health Care says the county jail is overcrowded with addicts, and the new initiative could help keep drug users out of jail and get them on the path to treatment.

“I think it’s a great approach to this issue,” said Diane Ramsayer with Drug Free Charlotte County. “We need a full range of opportunities and services that will help anybody that is being impacted by substance abuse. So even if it just touches the life of one person, it’s worth it to us.”


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