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Against All Odds: Police Chief Announces Lorain County’s First Needle Exchange (Wellington, Ohio)

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Tim Barfield, the Chief of Police for the city of Wellington announced today that his police department would begin a needle exchange program, the first in Lorain County.  The program, which could start as early as July, would be entirely risk free and only require a brief counseling session in order to participate.   According to Dave Covell, Lorain County’s Health Commissioner, the primary purpose of the program is an effort to help curb the rising Hepatitis-C and HIV levels across the region.

Wellington’s Mayor, their Police Department & all those who work closely with them in the rehab community all have high hopes for the needle exchange.  However, the same cannot be said for other jurisdictions – as the majority of Lorain County’s police departments have thus far refused to help the addicted.  

Outside of Wellington and the newly added cities of Elyria and Lorain, virtually every single police department throughout the county has continued to blatantly turn their heads at the prospect of helping the addicted.  Instead of local police officers taking 5-10 minutes to sit down and assist someone with getting the help that they so badly need, it appears that they would rather make arrests and fill out mundane police reports.

A prime example can be found in regards to the Lorain County Sheriffs Department, who continues to view those with severe addictions as nothing more than mere “criminals”. Additional cities like North Ridgeville, Sheffield, Sheffield Lake, Avon, Avon Lake, Amherst, Oberlin and the like, all continue in their repeated process of charging, arresting and releasing inmates back into society.  Only to have them relapse & overdose all over again with repeated calls to the same residences without any assistance from the people that could truly help make a difference the most.  The police.

Watch:  Wellington Unveils Lorain County’s First Needle Exchange Program

COBRA Says:  It’s fairly evident that what the Wellington Police Department is doing is actually working.  They are making a difference and are truly trying their hardest to help those that live in their jurisdiction and by doing so have uplifted their entire community in the process.   Common fucking sense right?

In the beginning it was tough going as Nicole Walmsley and co. set out and tried to get police departments on board.  Out of the first 50 precincts she went to, 49 said no.  The first city that did was Lodi, followed by Wellington and then an additional 20 precincts in Cuyahoga County.  Tomorrow, the city of Lorain and shortly thereafter, Elyria, will also be joining the movement and offering LINC and other services to those whom are addicted in their areas.

The Wellington Police Department has taken an amazingly proactive approach to its residents and the citizens who reside there.  It doesn’t just end within the city of Wellington though, as many neighboring cities have seen their residents who seek help treatment make the trek to the Wellington Police Department.  Since 2016, more than 57 people have been placed into the LINC program, also known as Safe Passages.  Through this program the police department and their associates have helped the addicted find immediate and expedited placement into rehabs and detox centers across the country, saving countless lives.

Fun Fact:  Lorain County was the first in the State of Ohio to begin using the life saving Narcan (used in conjunction to help revive heroin related overdoses) to determine if it’s use would be effective on a widespread basis.  Narcan is now used in virtually every single city in the state as a result of the study.  Wellington’s LINC is just another prime example of what needs to be implemented in every single police department in Ohio.

The special announcement of the needle exchange program took place at the Lindley Center in Wellington today during the scheduled Heroin Epidemic Seminar that saw more than 100 people in attendance.  Several individuals spoke to the crowd sharing their stories of hope and success after going to the Wellington Police Department.  In one case, just last week, a woman who drove herself to the police station because she was finally done with her addiction – received the help she so badly needed.  She couldn’t believe that they (the police) actually cared about her and burst into tears as a result.  She’s currently in ongoing treatment.

Another moving story was shared by a young man’s mother whose son (Alex) had overdosed and was saved by the Wellington Police and Paramedics via Narcan.  Shortly after his return home from the hospital, that very same day he was placed into a rehab facility in Florida where he has been for the past 8 months.  His mother, who was in tears also read a letter that her son had to share regarding his overdose and battle with heroin addiction.

“I owe my life to god, my family and the Wellington Police Department.”

“I owe my life to god, my family and the Wellington Police Department.  I’m 8 months sober now…   People can get sober through the Wellington PD, if the government and law enforcement would assist people more it would show that they are there to help them just like Wellington is.”  His mother went on to add “I would not have Alex with us still today if it would not have been for the Wellington Police Department”.

The Bottom Line:  Local Police Officers have forgotten about their duty to the people.  Protect and serve doesn’t just mean that you wear a badge and pass out tickets and or arrest people all day long.  It’s ok to stop and truly perform a civil service once in a while.  It’s also ok to not judge people all the time and understand that they have addictions and problems and could maybe use just a little bit of help.  Police officers say that they absolutely hate doing desk work and filling out paperwork, if that’s true, perhaps tomorrow they should walk into work with a higher purpose in life.  One that could be mirrored off of the Wellington Police Department’s, one that could truly change the lives of those in their community and all around them.

SCUMBAGGED Tip:  Police departments that refuse to jump on board with this mindset have zero excuses moving forward.  After the results of the LINC program continue to flow in with success story after success story, it truly boils down to the ultimate question of “why not”.  Why wouldn’t they want to help someone today?  That’s the question everyone needs to ask themselves.  Why wouldn’t they?

Drug Addiction Information:  If you, or anyone reading this has drug related issues of any kind you can check into a rehab for free courtesy of the Wellington Police Department.  If you have misdemeanor warrants and even low level felonies you have a chance at still going to rehab if you’re upfront with them and truly seek a change.  All you have to do is give them a call at: (440) 647-2244 or contact them via messenger on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Wellington-Police-Department-759508177392915/

References: http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/news/6438/fighting-heroin-wpd-offers-linc-to-a-better-life

 

 

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