In January of 2016 the Pekin Police Department began compiling information as it pertains to opiate addiction. Recognizing that there is a problem within our community, Chief John Dossey began assembling community partners to attack the issues we face, and implement the assistance that is needed to address the issues outside the realm of arrest and prosecution.
Members from several community programs such as our Churches, addiction crisis centers, probation departments, medical centers, foundations and fire and police departments have all teamed up to provide an alternative to those residents of Pekin who fight the battle of addiction to opiates on a daily basis.
Many of the efforts that we have brought to the table are already implemented, and beginning September 6, 2016 the final piece of the puzzle will be implemented offering those who face addiction the opportunity to seek assistance from their police department with assistance of receiving treatment.
Safe Passages, a program initiative started in Lee County / Dixon IL, will be implemented assisting Pekin residents who suffer from opiate addiction into an appropriate addiction program. We recognize that the window to help those in need is a very small window of opportunity, and by offering this program we hope to make a difference.
The program is simple. A Pekin resident can come to the police station and turn over any drugs or paraphernalia without fear of arrest and we will assist them in to either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program deemed appropriate by our addiction center partner. We, through the use of volunteers, will then assign a guide to stay in contact with the individual to provide them support and monitor their status keeping them on track, with a goal of defeating their addiction.
Our process does not stop there however. We understand that there is no one simple solution to fight this battle, but realize that we as a community must be proactive in our efforts to prevent the abuse in the beginning.
The Pekin Police Department has implemented several programs beginning with our drug box located in our police department lobby. If an individual has medications in their medicine cabinet they no longer need simply bring this medication to the drop box for disposal. Do not leave this medication sit as it is a temptation and how many have started their addiction.
Second, we recognized a trend where individuals were filing false reports stating their medications were stolen in efforts to get doctors to refill prescription medications. The Pekin Police Department will no longer take these reports without dialogue with the attending physician. We have implemented a reporting form that must be completed by the doctor and sent back to the police department by the doctor. We will not take the form directly from the alleged victim. This enables communication between the police department and medical staff and potentially alerts a doctor to a potential patient that be in the beginning stages of addiction. We have seen much success since this form has been implemented.
Next the Pekin Police Department, through the assistance of the Pekin Hospital, has obtained Naloxone, and all officers are carrying the drug which has proven to save lives of those in crisis who have overdosed. Through the use of this mandated program, we hope to not only save lives, but assist those who are in crisis into treatment if they are willing.
Education is another important component to our initiative and recently we just completed a six week series of addiction videos where real live addicts and families of addicts have open discussion about how addiction has affected them. We hope to draw attention to the epidemic with a goal of educating our public and hopefully preventing abuse. Further efforts at education will be continually ongoing.
Enforcement. We will continue to enforce the law as it pertains to drugs and drug trafficking. It is but one tool in our fight against addiction. We have partnered with Peoria County MEG and have supplied officers to fight this fight. We will continue our participation in this program as well.
Finally, as one can see, no one effort will have any impact. By bringing key leaders to the table for open discussion we will find a way to have an impact on addiction. Together we will make a difference within our community.
Information about our safe passage program can be found on our Facebook Page as well as on our website. Information is also available in our police department lobby.
The Pekin Police Department has created a Six week series of videos called "The Faces of Heroin". These videos features addicts who tell their stories, and also feature family members who have lost a loved one to Heroin Addiction. This series is designed to raise awareness to the grip that addiction can have one someone’s life, signs to look for when you suspect someone you know is using, and things you can do to help.