WASHINGTON - There is a plea from the Anne Arundel County Police Department asking for the public’s help to battle the heroin and opioid abuse in the county.
The number of fatal overdoses in the county has more than tripled from last year and there are still three and a half months left in the year.
A letter has been sent out by Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare about a county-wide initiative telling people if they are addicted to heroin, pain pills or other drugs, police want them to reach out for help.
The county executive and police chief are sending it to every person in the county who has been arrested and is suspected of being addicted to heroin or other drugs.
The letter says:
“Anne Arundel County and the County Police want to help if you are addicted to heroin, pain pills or other drugs. Heroin and opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels. Overdoses have increased drastically, and many of our neighbors are dying as a result. The Anne Arundel County Police Department is concerned about people suffering from drug abuse and addiction.
“Our officers are routinely involved in responding to overdose calls or responding to crimes committed by those who are addicted. We respond to all overdose calls with the Fire Department, we are responsible for notifying next of kin when someone dies from an overdose. We have had to look too many mothers in the eye and tell them their child is gone! Many times, we have no choice but to arrest an addict who has committed a crime trying to feed his or her habit. The Police Department cannot solve this problem though.
“We understand that addiction can be overwhelming and many people suffering from addiction feel that they have no place to turn. Asking for help is the first important step in solving a drug abuse or addiction problem. It takes a lot of courage to seek help. If you are suffering from a drug abuse or addiction problem, please be courageous and ask for help. Drug treatment can work. People recover from addiction every day. WE BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT BUT WE CAN’T DO IT FOR YOU.
"The Anne Arundel County ‘Community Warmline’ is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist a person suffering from drug abuse and addiction. Please call 410-768-5522 to seek assistance in finding treatment. Help us help you by making the call. You won’t believe how much better a clean life is!”
Police said they are willing to do whatever it takes to beat the heroin epidemic, so they are approaching it with an open mind and are thinking outside the box. They want people to know that they are there to help.
The Anne Arundel Police Department is not the only police department taking action to try to do something about this epidemic. You may have seen those shocking photos released by the East Liverpool Police Department in Ohio of two adults who they said overdosed on heroin with a 4-year-old child in the back seat of a car.
When posting the photos on Facebook, police explained they knew it would upset some people, but said in part:
"We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.
“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis. The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours, the difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it's gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that.”
The drug epidemic is so out of hand across the nation. It is not just police and government trying to figure out what to do, but the National Association of Broadcasters will host a conference on Tuesday to announce broadcasters’ commitment to addressing crisis ravaging so many communities.