BERKLEY, Mich. (FOX 2) - A new collaboration in Berkely is getting drugs off the streets-- while helping addicts get clean and sober. The group Families Against Narcotics is working to break the stigma surrounding addiction.
The program gives police officers more resources to help on overdose calls. It started in Sterling Heights, then Downriver to Allen Park, now in Berkley.
The opioid crisis has publicly taken a backseat to the pandemic but the numbers are staggering. According to Families Against Narcotics, 2021 is expected to see a 40-percent increase in overdoses and a 20-percent increase of opioid-related deaths.
"It's the only disease where you can't walk into a doctor's office and say I'm sick, I need help, and you get that warm handoff and a group of people who will orchestrate a recovery for you," said Linda Davis, executive director, FAN.
Davis is a former Macomb County judge who runs FAN, launching the Come Back Quick Response Team.
It designates officers as the go-between to get those suffering from substance use disorder - connected with a team of professionals to facilitate treatment.
"Since I've been a detective I've lost 3 or 4 close students who I was familiar with," said Det. Lt. Andrew Hadfield, Berkely police. "I knew them as they grew up, and then to hear learn they overdosed and passed away."
Based on calls for service, Berkley PD knows who needs the help.
"With people suffering from addiction they go to the hospital for two days, and they are out and we are back out to the house 15 to 20 times a year," said Berkley Police Chief Matt Koehn.
Big picture implications - reduce crime stats, less homelessness and unburden the foster care system - and get sufferers long-term help.
"Arresting people is not the right way to do this, it's better to offer treatment options because then we get to the root of why people are committing crimes," Davis said.