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Michigan State Police program gives busted drug addicts a way out of jail

Posted at 1:51 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 16:31:56-04

Drug addicts in Michigan can get some help from an "angel." Michigan State Police rolled out with the MSP Angel Program earlier this year.

Instead of facing jail time, Michigan State Police offer a program to help drug addicts get clean.

The program is a nationwide pre-arrest program that allows addicts to team up with volunteers to get off drugs.

Lt. Calvin Hart of the Michigan State Police said, "It's a disease and it's also a safety issue as well."

Drug addiction is a problem facing many states.

Here in Michigan, the growing number of heroin overdoses has state police reaching for alternative ways to get people off drugs.

The latest data in Michigan shows in 2014, there were 1,745 heroin overdose deaths. That's more fatalities from overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes that same year.

Police say the solution is to stop the cycle of drug use.

"Arresting or jailing the individual is not helping to combat the problem the way we want. We have to take an untraditional approach," Hart said.

That's where the MSP Angel Program comes in. It started through the state police earlier this year. It's being offered up north and some parts of lower Michigan.

In our area, you can find the program at state police posts in Monroe and Washtenaw counties.

Soon it will be in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.

The program teams an addict with an angel, who will help them stay clean and out of jail.

An angel is a volunteer who may have experience or a better understanding of addiction.

The program helps addicts, whether it's heroin, prescription drugs or alcohol.

But it isn't an automatic "stay out of jail" card.

"That individual as well is vetted so any participants who are found to have sex offender record or active warrants, they will not qualify," Hart added.

Michigan state police hope to have the program at all of their posts by the end of this year.

To find more information about the program, go to Michigan.gov.