MSP kick starts program to help drug addicts - WNEM TV 5

MSP kick starts program to help drug addicts

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Michigan State Police troopers are breaking down barriers by helping those battling drug addiction.

It’s called the Angel Program. People with a drug addiction can go to a MSP post for help without fear of being arrested.

“This opioid addiction, the whole thing has kind of blown up on us,” Trooper Steve Kramer said. “We can’t solve this through arrests.”

Kramer said the country is in the middle of a drug epidemic and the problem is continuing to rise in Mid-Michigan.

According to a recent study by the CDC, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. This includes illicit drugs and prescription opioids. That’s nearly double in a decade.

Michigan State Police hope help is on the way. They’ve launched a program called the Michigan “Angel Program.” It helps connect drug addicts to recovery programs. Addicts can reach out for help without fear of arrest just by showing up at a state police post.

Also, instead of a trooper transporting them to rehab, they have enlisted the help of regular people to do it. The belief is this will break down the stigma of seeking help.

“When somebody comes in and says 'hey I have a problem, I need some help,'” Kramer said. “We’re looking for those angels that we can call and that are willing and available to come in and assist.”

Flint’s MSP post is currently accepting applications for those looking to be a part of the program. Requirements include being 21-years-old, having a valid driver’s license and being available throughout the week, if necessary.

But participating in the Angel Program doesn’t mean you have to have a clean slate. In fact, Michigan State Police are looking for those who maybe have had a history of drug abuse, but are in recovery.

“They have to be two years clean, but if they do have that experience we feel like they can kind of bring something special to the program,” Trooper Amy Belanger said. “And maybe have a view of things that we wouldn’t exactly be able to provide.”

For troopers like Kramer and Belanger, this initiative is personal. They said it truly affects those within the communities they serve.

“This has been a passionate program for me because I’ve seen what it can do to a family and how it can tear a family apart,” Belanger said.

Those battling addiction can get help on Nov. 1 at the Flint State Police post on Corunna Road just east of Linden Road.

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