With the ramifications of the nation’s opioid epidemic being felt through the sheer emotional, physical, social and economic devastation it brings, Miami police have attempted to stem the destruction with an innovative new approach.
According to a story by the Miami Herald, Miami police are planning to offer those with opioid addictions the option of rehab instead of incarceration. In plans announced on Oct. 15, the Miami Police Department has developed a new pre-arrest program which will offer people found with small amounts of narcotics on them the option of a one-year outpatient program, in an attempt to stem the opioid epidemic and lower drug arrest rates.
The Proposed Plan of Action
Partnering with Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital, the University of Miami Health System, the South Florida Behavioral Health Network and other regional agencies, the Miami Police Department will utilize $1.6 million in federal grants to offer those arrested a program including anti-addiction medication, mental health counseling, medical care, and social services. The goal, according to Chief Medical Officer at the South Florida Behavioral Health Hospital Dr. Patricia Ares-Romero, is to treat roughly 100 patients over the three-year life of the grants.
Speaking at a news conference to outline the program, Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina stated that, “addiction may be a law enforcement problem, but there is no law enforcement solution for addiction,” he said. “There may, however, be a medical solution.”
The Toll of the Opioid Epidemic
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 150 Americans die daily from opioid overdose, a number which has skyrocketed over the last decade. Florida has fared particularly badly in this battle. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, the state saw a 46 percent increase in the number of deaths as a result of opioids, such as heroin, morphine and fentanyl.
This was one of the most significant increases in the entire nation, and only time will tell if this new program will help stem the time of the opioid epidemic. However, Miami police are hopeful that it will help some South Floridians overcome their addictions, and that it may even help slow the illicit opioid trade in Miami.
Contact an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for drug possession, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The opioid epidemic has destroyed countless lives and families, so don’t let yourself become a statistic – let Piotrowski Law help you today.
Chad Piotrowski has an extensive background in aggressively defending his clients from charges ranging from marijuana possession to armed drug trafficking and murder. A former prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, Chad Piotrowski has the unique ability to anticipate prosecution strategies to help build a solid defense to help obtain the best possible outcome for his clients.