News Article Details

Longmont public safety gets grants to boost case management services for substance abuse, mental health programs

Daily Times-Call - 2/14/2019

Feb. 14--Longmont Public Safety received a grant that will allow the department to hire a full-time case manager for its Angel Initiative program, which helps those struggling with substance abuse disorders find treatment.

The $55,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation was awarded in February.

The case manager will support those who participate in the Angel Initiative as they progress in their treatment as well as afterward, when the treatment is completed, according to Assistant Public Safety Chief Dan Eamon.

Right now, anyone who comes to the Safety and Justice Center off of Third Avenue will receive help from a volunteer. The volunteer will work with them to identify any obstacles to treatment, like ongoing court cases, and then work to find them treatment that matches their financial needs.

But, Eamon said, some people need more support than what volunteers can provide. While the program has a "very dedicated volunteer" that supports people throughout and after treatment, the volunteer can only donate so much time to the program.

Eamon said this grant will let the department hire a full-time case manager for two years. He hopes to have one in place by mid-summer.

"We want to be able to build relationships with people and be able to follow their progress and offer more support after treatment is completed," he said.

Between 40 and 60 percent of those who battle a drug addiction will relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, the institute said that relapse is a common part of the recovery process. Often, people relapse multiple times before getting sober.

Longmont's Angel Initiative has helped 128 people connect with treatment since it began operating in January 2017. Most of the participants were abusing alcohol, with those abusing methamphetamine and heroin following in second and third.

The Angel Initiative is modeled after a program first launched in 2015 in Gloucester, Mass., where police felt a need to respond to the rising opioid epidemic on the East Coast. The national organization Police Assisted Addition and Recovery Initiative, or P.A.A.R.I., has spread the idea to law enforcement agencies across the country. In Colorado, Longmont was the first department to partner with the organization.

Public Safety also received a $500,000 grant in October from the U.S. Department of Justice's Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, Eamon said. That money will go toward the department's CORE (Crisis, Outreach, Response and Engagement) and Community Health programs. Eamon said the department will be able to hire another paramedic for CORE and two more case managers that work with various programs with the grant.

Programs like these "will reduce the burden on Public Safety, the criminal justice system, the health systems, and most importantly improve the individual health of those we serve," he said.

Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, mstamour@prairiemountainmedia.com

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