Police Chief David Newlan is dedicated to the citizens of Cape Coral who are addicted to opioids and want help to end their addiction, but do not know where to get services. Chief Newlan is implementing a program called Heroin-Opioid Prevention Education (HOPE). The mission of this program is to improve the efficiency of the policing efforts of the Cape Coral Police Department to help reduce the number of fatal and nonfatal overdoses due to opioids. This will be done by changing the way Officers interact with people who are requesting help with their addiction to opioids. In doing this, the Cape Coral Police Department hopes to improve the quality of life for the voluntary participants and their families, while also preventing future crimes and overdose deaths associated with opioid addiction.
People addicted to opioids have an inherent distrust of law enforcement officers. In an effort to combat the distrust of law enforcement officers, a person addicted to opioids requesting help with their addiction will not be charged criminally with the possession of any drugs or paraphernalia (needles) according to Florida’s 911 Good Samaritan Law. This referral initiative will be offered without the fear of arrest. The Cape Coral Police Department will also provide transportation to the receiving or treatment facilities.
Police Officers are not trained, nor qualified to act as treatment counselors; however, they can be vital in connecting people with the appropriate community health organizations that offer these services. This program is specifically and exclusively applied to those who come to the Cape Coral Police Department requesting assistance due to their opioid addiction or from people who seek medical assistance for someone who is overdosing (parent, guardian, etc).
A person seeking help with their addiction may not be considered for referral for the following conditions:
-The person has an active warrant.
-The person is under 18 and does not have their parent’s consent
-The person presents any signs or symptoms of withdrawal or any other clear medical conditions that need immediate medical attention.
Help Educate Loving Parents (HELP)
Prevention is the overall goal to ending opioid addiction. The Cape Coral Police Department is partnering with local professional resources to educate parents, school employees, Community leaders and government agencies regarding prevention and educating teens and youth about the dangers of alcohol and drug use related issues.
The Help Program covers the following topics:
-Dangers of substance abuse on the body and brain.
-The consequences of being arrested for a drug and/or alcohol related crime. -Having an open dialogue with teen about alcohol/drug usage.
-Common drug impairment indicators.
-Drug paraphernalia familiarization and identification.
-Behavioral indicators to look for if a teen starts to abuse alcohol and/or drugs. -Resources available to parents.
CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341