The opioid crisis refers to the ongoing epidemic that has plagued the U.S. since the 1990s. Millions of people are addicted to heroin and synthetic opioids, including prescription drugs. The number of overdoses is increasing steadily, which is believed to be a result of the widespread use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. While probation officers can use tools such as drug patches to monitor use in previously accused offenders, there are also other steps law enforcement officers can take to help end the crisis.
Law Enforcement Strategies to Help Stop the Opioid Crisis
1. Hold Community Events
While the opioid crisis is prevalent across most parts of the U.S., for those who haven’t been affected by it personally, there remains a lot of misinformation about drug addiction. Scheduling community events with guest speakers can help locals learn about what to do if someone they know experiences addiction or an overdose.
2. Increase Availability of Naloxone
Naloxone is a medication that reverses the life-threatening effects of an overdose of heroin and other opioids. Although it’s a short-term solution, making it readily accessible can help reduce the overall number of lives lost to the opioid crisis. While it won’t necessarily stop addiction, it could potentially be a turning point for individuals to get help.
3. Host Take-Back Days
In addition to illegal narcotics, addiction and overdoses can also be bred from prescription drugs found in many medicine cabinets. After surgeries, injuries, and other medical conditions, many patients don’t wind up using all of their medications. Hosting a drug take-back event can ensure leftover drugs are disposed of safely instead of winding up in the wrong hands.
4. Reach Out to People in Need
Individuals who have been convicted of drug possession often perceive the police as threatening. Their only contact with law enforcement may be having their drug patches tested. If police officers reach out to these individuals directly to offer naloxone and to let them know they’re available for help, it can create a stronger relationship among law enforcement and the community.
5. Make Treatment Accessible
Not only should short-term solutions like naloxone and drug patches be available to control deaths and drug use, but recovery resources should also be conveniently accessible to those who are ready to get help. Appointing a liaison can help individuals in need find recovery programs, detox facilities, and other key resources when they need them most.
Helping individuals who have struggled with addiction while also promoting public safety is at the heart of what Tennessee Recovery & Monitoring does. Located in Bradley County, TN, this company provides electronic alcohol monitors, drug patches, and additional devices to legal entities and behavioral health organizations. They offer industry-leading solutions and have multiple locations so their technicians can provide prompt assistance when needed. Learn more about their products online or call (855) 472-7269 to speak with a staff member.