Scottsdale Angel Initiative offers compassion in wake of opioid epidemic

Pills like this hydrocodone tablet are many peoples’ first introduction to the world of opiates that, in recent years, has translated into opiate addiction. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

The Scottsdale Police Department and the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, is joining forces and have launched the Scottsdale Angel Initiative.

In Scottsdale, and across the nation, we are experiencing unprecedented increases in the distribution and use of opiates. Opioid prescription drugs, heroin and now fentanyl are present in communities, according to a press release.

The Arizona Angel Initiative is an effort of the Office of Youth, Faith and Family to address this ongoing opioid epidemic, the release states.

The Scottsdale Police Department is partnering with the Office of Youth, Faith and Family to support this effort in the Scottsdale community.

Adults wishing to participate in the Scottsdale Arizona Angel Initiative can contact any Scottsdale police officer or walk into any of the four District Stations — between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday — and declare their desire to participate in the Angel Initiative. Participants will be required to present a valid form of identification.

Any drugs and/or drug paraphernalia they possess can be turned in to the officer without fear of arrest, which is dependent upon meeting all of the criteria listed below.

Department representatives will then facilitate the pairing of the participant with a program Angel. The Angel, a program volunteer committed to helping those suffering from addiction, will provide an evaluation and work to secure appropriate services, the release states.

The Angels role is as follows:

  • Educate participants on solutions to break the cycle of addiction;
  • Lead classes and groups to build the skills and overcome the obstacles to recovery;
  • Monitor participants and to connect them to services;
  • Follow up and provide aftercare and support;
  • Build and maintain an on-going relationship with the participant to give them the best possible chances for full recovery;
  • Arrange childcare for parents struggling through and working on their recovery.

Individuals who choose to become part of the Angel Initiative must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an adult over the age of 18;
  • Live in the City of Scottsdale;
  • Be willing and able to follow staff direction;
  • Present a valid identification card;
  • Agree to abide by all rules and refrain from engaging in any illegal or inappropriate activity;
  • Be willing to go to detox and obtain medical clearance if detox is required;
  • Be physically and mentally able to self-manage personal hygiene and care within a non-medical and non-psychiatric facility
  • May not be a fugitive of justice;
  • May not have any prior or pending charges for crimes including violence, arson, sexual offense, crimes against children or the elderly.

“Drug addiction, and specifically opioid and heroin addiction, can devastate and destroy individuals, families and whole communities,” said Scottsdale District Commander Rich Slavin in a prepared statement.

“The city of Scottsdale, and the men and women of the Scottsdale Police Department work hard every day to combat this by identifying and bringing to justice drug trafficking organizations and those individuals responsible for the distribution and sale of these illicit drugs that are harming our community. Our efforts cannot and do not stop there. The Angel Initiative is another step in our efforts to combat this issue.”

For district locations, go to scottsdaleaz.gov/police/contact.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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