Mark C. Poloncarz, the county executive of Erie County, recently signed off on an Executive Order #014 under which an Opiate Epidemic Task Force has been established. As of now, there are seven different comities that are a part of the Task Force, and these committees have regular meetings and submit their reports to the Task Force.
The REAP Program is one of those committees. The other six include Community Education, Families & Consumer Support & Advocacy, Hospitals/ ER ROI Project, Naloxone Access, Provider Education & Reform Policy, and Treatment Providers.
REAP is an acronym for Rapid Evaluation Appropriate Placement. Through this REAP Initiative, addicts will receive guidance and support from participating law enforcement agencies, and that will hopefully lead them towards treatment and rehabilitation.
The REAP Initiative relies on “Angel” volunteers, who volunteer to help those who are addicted to heroin, opioids, or any other drugs. The ultimate goal of this groundbreaking policing program is provide addicts with the necessary help, rather than sending them to prison.
All addicts have to do is seek help from the police and REAP then pairs them with a volunteer “Angel.” Drug addicts do not have to worry about getting arrested, or getting charged with a crime, or going to jail. Through the process, they receive guidance from their “Angel” and REAP even disposes of any drugs or drug paraphernalia that they may be possession of.
Just about every group and organization in Erie County that is involved in opioid addiction and its treatment is currently in partnership with the Erie County Opioid Epidemic Task Force. This means that addicts will face no trouble in getting easily connected with necessary treatment that will enable them to lead a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
The REAP Initiative had been announced at a press conference back in August, along with two other innovative programs, namely the Crisis Peer Response Team (CPRT) and the Erie County Addictions Treatment Hotline.
According to Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health, the planning for these programs had been going on for months. Moreover, all of the contributing organizations apparently had to collaborate with each other to an exceptional degree. Ultimately, all of these programs are aimed towards providing appropriate to drug addicts who need it the most, so they may rid themselves of this disease.
Through the 24/7 Addictions Treatment Hotline, services and support will be available around the clock to both drug addicts and their loves ones who want to get them help. Through this new phone number, drug addicts in Erie County will also be able to get connected with policies agencies that are a part of the REAP program, so they will be able to provide immediate assistance to such individuals.
These new support programs definitely bring Erie County at the forefront in this war against drugs and in the effort to aid those struggling with drug abuse. This should hopefully improve the available drug use disorder care and make it possible to combat the opioid public health crisis more effectively. It will definitely not be an easy step for a drug addict to step into a police station and ask for help, but over time, knowing that they will not get into trouble will hopefully encourage them to seek treatment.