Bedford, like many communities in Northeast Ohio, has been feeling the effects of the opioid crisis. The one thing that has become very apparent is that we cannot “arrest” our way out of this crisis. Based on this fact, Bedford Police Department began participating in a program called “Safe Passages”. There are always questions around this kind of program and I hope that I will be able to answer them in this article. But if you have any questions regarding this, please let me know.
What is the Safe Passages program?
At its heart, Safe Passages is a way for an opioid addict to seek a way out of their addiction in a safe and logical way with the help of people who see the terrible results of opioid addiction every day. Under Safe Passages, any opioid addict can walk into the Bedford Police Department and ask for help. In doing this, they will face no legal actions for their addiction. Instead, they will be given expediated help and treatment.
Opioid addiction is the hardest addiction to kick and simply arresting people is not working to stop the spread of it or the crime that extends from it. This program is seen as a new way to stop both the addiction cycle and the crime that often accompanies that addiction.
Why does Bedford have a Safe Passages program?
On a basic level, the Safe Passages program was put in place to give Bedford’s police department another tool to try to help combat the opioid problem in Bedford.
But on a more personal level, the Safe Passages program came to Bedford and surrounding communities due to the efforts of Sara Llyod, from our Records and Dispatch Center. Sara’s life was affected by this epidemic when her brother fell victim to it. Instead of letting that bring her down, she chose to focus her energy on helping others who were affected like herself and her brother. Sara recently spoke about her experiences at a benefit for Safe Passages. You can read more about that here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bedford.police.1/posts/2028449354065892
Someone I know has an opioid, heroin or prescription drug problem and they want help. How can we use Safe Passages to get help?
Any Bedford resident that would like to seek help through the Safe Passages program can turn themselves in to Bedford Police Department. As long as no crime other than drug possession has occurred, the person reporting to Bedford Police Department will not face charges. Instead, the police department will work to find rehabilitation and treatment options and will use their pull to expedite such options if they can.
If you have any questions about this program or need to seek help from this program, please contact the Bedford Police Department at 440-232-7600.