(Arlington, VA) – On October 29, S.A.F.E. Project (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) joined North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Duke University, North Carolina Law Enforcement and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition to host a Pre-Arrest Diversion Summit. Participants discussed how law enforcement can lead people with substance use disorder from the criminal justice system to the health care system and out of a potential cycle of addiction and incarceration.
The Summit specifically focused on the success of pre-arrest diversion programs already in place in North Carolina and ways to expand them. S.A.F.E. Project plans to work with the Attorney General and Duke University to collect data on existing programs and using that data to analyze current programs and help make the case for other communities and law enforcement in adopting Pre-Arrest Diversion.
“Diverting substance abuse users to treatment is an important part of resolving the addiction epidemic because it allows users to avoid the downward spiral that often comes with a criminal record,” said S.A.F.E. Project Co-Founder Admiral Sandy Winnefeld. “S.A.F.E. Project’s hope is for North Carolina’s work to be scaled into Pre-Arrest Diversion programs around the nation. What makes North Carolina unique in their successful establishment of Pre-Arrest Diversion programs is the partnership of law enforcement and the Harm Reduction Coalition. It’s a very powerful partnership that other states can learn from.”
“The opioid epidemic continues to tear communities apart all over our nation,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “S.A.F.E. Project is playing an important role in addressing this crisis and I am grateful for Admiral and Mrs. Winnefeld’s support of our efforts in North Carolina. Today’s event will help law enforcement officers guide more people suffering from the disease of addiction from the criminal justice system into the health care system.”
The data and information collected at the NC Pre-Arrest Diversion Summit will be used by S.A.F.E. Project to complete and deploy its Pre-Arrest Diversion Resource Guide, which will assist law enforcement agencies to adopt Pre-Arrest Diversion programs in their communities.
About S.A.F.E. Project
S.A.F.E. Project (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) is a nonprofit organization that is committed to contributing in a tangible way to overcoming the epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. The organization uses an action-oriented, fact-based, non-partisan approach to substantial progress through six interdependent lines of operation that address public awareness, full-spectrum prevention, prescription medicine, law enforcement and medical response, treatment and recovery and family outreach and support. The organization was founded in November 2017 by retired Navy Admiral and former ninth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Winnefeld and his wife Mary Winnefeld, after they lost their 19-year-old son, Jonathan, to an accidental opioid overdose. For more information, please visit www.safeproject.us.