Hope Not Handcuffs (HNH)—a police-community partnership that provides access to substance abuse treatment—is on the receiving end of $23,000 in grants within the past week.
HNH received a $13,000 grant on Tuesday from State Senators Jen Metzger (SD-42) and James Skoufis (SD-39) to support the program’s outreach efforts. This came after Orange County presented a $10,000 check on August. 1.
“This funding will empower community volunteers and local law enforcement participating in the Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley program to continue their work providing life-saving support to individuals who suffer from the disease of addiction,” Metzger said. “Ending the opioid epidemic in the Hudson Valley will require a combination of strategies focused on prevention, education, treatment, and recovery, and it will take all of us working together to reverse this devastating trend.”
The Families Against Narcotics (FAN) Hope Not Handcuffs initiative is coordinated locally through the Tri-County Community Partnership (TCCP). The TCCP created the first HNH chapter outside of Michigan last November in the Town of Wallkill Police Department.
TCCP President Annette Kahrs said the grant will be used for marketing and training across all of HNH’s locations.
Individuals suffering from substance abuse can enter or call any participating police station and ask for help through the HNH program. The individual will go through a brief intake process to determine if they are eligible. Then, they will be placed into treatment as soon as possible through a HNH angel. Angels are ordinary people who undergo HNH training and volunteer to place individuals into treatment.
“Addiction is a disease that no one asks for, and it must be treated as such by our communities, law enforcement, and local government,” Skoufis said. “Hope Not Handcuffs has been instrumental in helping rehabilitate those who have suffered in the grips of addiction and I’m proud to deliver this funding that will help propel its program forward. Our work does not stop here- I’m committed to continuing to fight as hard as I can to end this tragic opioid epidemic in our Hudson Valley.”
Dominick Blasko, Vice President of the Police Chiefs Association of Orange County, said HNH is an invaluable tool in police departments’ toolboxes as they fight the epidemic that effects every community. The program contributes to law enforcement’s three-pronged approach of education, enforcement and treatment.
Sergeant Guy Farina, of the Town of Montgomery Police Department and Liaison to Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley Program, said HNH not only saves lives, it prevents crime as well. It cuts down on drug arrests and prevents petty crime that some might turn to support their addiction.
Currently, there are 10 Orange County Police Departments participating in the HNH program including: the Town of Wallkill, City of Middletown, Town of Crawford, Town of Montgomery, Village of Maybrook, Village of Walden, Town of Mount Hope, and the Town of Goshen. The Town of New Windsor and City of Port Jervis are expected to launch programs in the near future. Police Departments in Rockland, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties also participate in the program.
Following the announcement, Metzger and Skoufis and their staff joined community members for a Narcan training and information session delivered by the opioid overdose prevention program, Keep It Moving (K-I-M), which educates the public about the life-saving overdose reversal agent through formal and on-the-spot training.
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and District Attorney David M. Hoovler joined the County Legislature on Thursday, August 1 to announce that the County has provided $10,000 in funding to the Orange County Police Chief’s Association for training, promotional materials and marketing efforts for the program
“I’m pleased to join the Police Chief’s Association and the Legislature in supporting this valuable program,” Neuhaus said. “We in County government are doing all that we can to assist people who suffer from addiction and to help their loved ones as well. It’s the County’s goal to be a part of the solution to this national issue. Working together, we can help protect our children and our communities from the dangers of addiction.”
Hope Not Handcuffs was launched in February of 2017 by Families Against Narcotics (FAN) and is aimed at bringing law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking assistance. Hope Not Handcuffs has worked with approximately 79 law enforcement agencies nationwide, helping more than 2,800 men and women connect to treatment.
“We expect this program to be utilized across the state in the coming years under the Governor’s diversion program,” said Orange County Legislator Rob Sassi, Chairman of the Human Services and the Opioid Addiction Committees. “The Orange County Legislature, along with the County Executive and Department of Mental Health Commissioner Darcie Miller will remain on the forefront of this important issue. We look forward to collaborating with local law enforcement on this initiative.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, here are some of the resources available:
Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley: 833-428-4673 (HOPE), firstname.lastname@example.org
Orange County Department of Mental Health: 845-291-2600 or email@example.com
Orange County Crisis Call Center: 1-800-832-1200, 24 hours a day
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) of Orange County: 845-294-9000, www.adacinfo.com.
Mental Health Association of Orange County: 1-800-832-1200 (24 hours/7 days a week), www.mhorangeny.com.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
For more information about the signs and symptoms of abuse, go to combatheroin.ny.gov.
Free Narcan training is available in Orange County. Narcan, also known as Naloxone, is a medication that can potentially save someone’s life. It reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness. For information about Narcan training, contact the County’s Department of Mental Health at 291-2600.
The State Department of Health’s N-CAP program assists with Narcan co-payments, making the drug available low or no cost at local pharmacies. For more information about N-CAP, call 800-542-2437 or log onto www.health.ny.gov/overdose.