Pa. police department to help addicts get treatment

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 9, 2016 4:00 PM


(Upper Darby) -- Police in a suburban Philadelphia community hard-hit by the heroin scourge are making their headquarters into safe haven and treatment referral source for drug addicts.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood says drug users who come to the station seeking help will be passed on to substance abuse specialists.

If those seeking treatment lack health insurance, Chitwood says the county will provide funds.

Advocates say the effort is the first of its kind in the state.

In February, a man overdosed on heroin on a transit bus and was revived by Upper Darby officers carrying a lifesaving drug.

Chitwood says Upper Darby logged 200 overdoses last year.

Upper Darby's program mirrors others in parts of Ohio and Massachusetts, where police in some communities are changing tactics and redefining their roles in the battle against heroin.

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