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Help Not Handcuffs: Connecting addicts with resources they need

Posted at 1:04 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 19:56:33-04

DELAFIELD — The Delafield Police Department isn't a big office, but when it comes to helping with addiction, the department is doing big things. They're teaming up with a non-profit to help those addicted to opioids. The new program is called "Help Not Handcuffs," and it's not just Delafield residents who benefit.

"We'll take anybody in Waukesha County," said Chief Erik Kehl.

Kehl said the idea is to get addicts help then and there.

"You come in, we will get the ball rolling, We'll put you in contact. We'll get you the help you need," said Kehl.

Police won't ask questions.

"It's not a matter of OK what did he take, where did he get it, who's your dealer, how much did you spend. We're not going to ask those things," said Kehl.

Police will do a handoff with Addiction Resource Council, where the assessment gets going.

"Having a conversation with that person about what is going on for them and then from there making that referral out to treatment and helping them navigate that system as well," said Chelsea Wasielewski.

Wasielewski, the associate director with the Addiction Resource Council, said they'll help explain insurance options so clients know what they can afford and they can bump them to the top of the wait lists.

"Having to wait for an appointment and then waiting to even figure out where do I go from there and by that point that readiness for change sometimes dissipates," said Wasielewski.

Addiction Resource Council hopes "Help Not Handcuffs" will break barriers in more ways than one.

"It's not a matter of OK what did he take, where did he get it, who's your dealer, how much did you spend. We're not going to ask those things." — Delafield Police Chief Erik Kehl

"Understanding that we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem, we need to help people and overall just reframing addiction as a disease and not as a crime," said Wasielewski.

24-7, there's a place to go when someone takes the first step.

"If we can help some people get better and now they're not out buying drugs, getting in those dangerous situations, they can be a contributing member of society holding down a job. Well, awesome, that's perfect," said Kehl.

Delafield Police have had a lot of calls, but no one has taken advantage of the service yet. The program is designed to help those with opioid addiction, but the chief said they won't turn others away.

Greenfield Police have a similar program for residents.