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Opioid Solutions Toolbox


Over the last several years, we have seen a crisis arise in towns and cities across the state, one that has brought tragedy to those families directly affected but also has caused larger social consequences across our communities, affecting the broader quality of life for all residents. It's a crisis that has put tremendous strain on our emergency rooms, our law enforcement and our other first responders.

I hope this Opioid Solutions Toolbox can offer help in your town or city by referring you to just some of the programs and resources that are available to address this crisis. By highlighting best practices that are already addressing opioid abuse head-on, we hope that you will find a solution that can work for you.

Our law enforcement leaders tell us we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We can, though, find better ways to promote prevention, enhance enforcement and improve treatment.

2017-18 NCLM President Michael Lazzara​


​Video Segments​

PART ONE: Different police chiefs. Different towns. A common problem. ​​​Residents develop fatal addictions following dependency on prescription opioids. They could either treat addicts like crimina​ls, or try something more supportive to break cycles and save lives.

PART TWO: Diversion or "angel" programs connect drug addicts to treatment for a new chance at a good life -- an alternative to the handcuffs approach that police leaders say hasn't worked against the opioid crisis. In Nashville, the HOPE initiative is making a change. In Waynesville, the LEAD program has launched. Both set the handcuffs aside for people earnest about sobriety. How might you adapt the elements of these programs to your community?​

​PART THREE: It wouldn't be easy to start a diversion program in your community without buy-in. The district attorney and other elected officials need to be on board with it, not to mention the town's residents. Police chiefs Tom Bashore and Bill Hollingsed of Nashville and Waynesville, respectively, reveal how they began that conversation. 

​PART FOUR: Now we understand the concept behind diversion programs and who needs to support them in order to work. But how *do* they work, specifically? Here's a step-by-step of the programs in Nashville and Waynesville. 

PART FIVE: These programs are p​​ossible with community and leadership support, but they only work if the intended beneficiaries trust them. For instance, how do you convince a drug-possessor that he or she can visit the police station for help without getting arrested? Listen to how Chiefs Bashore and Hollingsed made it happen. 

PART SIX: In any effort to dent a major problem, you need resources -- funding, most importantly. Learn here how the programs in Nashville and Waynesville are making it happen without the use of tax dollars.  
PART SEVEN (FINAL): Here's a final-thought roundup of what Chiefs Bashore and Hollingsed see with the opioid-addiction problem and their hometown recovery programs. "I don't think we're going to arrest our way out of the opioid crisis, so we've got to look at what we can do as law enforcement -- individual officers and agencies -- to help stop this problem," says Chief Hollingsed. ​