Two upcoming fundraisers will benefit the Begin Again drug treatment program through the Lodi Police Department.
The nonprofit initiative offers drug users the opportunity to come forward and be placed in a treatment program instead of the legal system.
The police department, which holds various fundraisers throughout the year, pays for transportation and treatment at no cost for the user.
Begin Again is modeled after an initiative started in Gloucester, Mass., and partners with the national Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, or PAARI, Police Chief Keith Keough said.
“We took their program and downscaled it to our little area,” he said.
Lodi was the first police department in Ohio to participate in PAARI. Now, Keough said, there are about there are about 10 other police departments in the state involved in a similar initiative.
“Since we’ve started, other departments (in the state) are running the same type of program,” although Lodi is the only department in Medina County, he said.
In 2016, 111 people were put through the program, Keogh said.
As of last month, 27 of them are still sober and five have fatally overdosed, he said.
Keough said his department made changes to the Begin Again program after it learned that some of the 200 facilities nationwide listed as partners with PAARI were not aware of that association.
Keough said some facilities elsewhere sent bills to patients in recovery who could not afford to pay. He said when his department learns that, “We knock them off the list.
“A lot of the facilities we talked to on the phone hadn’t heard of the PAARI program. We threw that list away and have been doing our own checking (of facilities),” he said. “People come to you for help and you facilitate getting them help. It’s a pretty easy concept.”
He added: “I like the concept of PAARI, but they’re located in Massachusetts where they have a lot of resources around that they use.”
“We don’t pay dues. We don’t pay money” to be included in PAARI, Keough said.
The Lodi department doesn’t turn anyone in need away, Keough said, and will work with drug users who come in to get them help closer to home.
Keough said he has been traveling around the state to talk with staff at treatment facilities’ about working with Lodi.
Proceeds from fundraisers are handled by the Lodi Police Advisory Board and deposited in an account for travel expenses for those placed into a treatment program. Organizers are looking for sponsors for the following fundraisers:
- 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. April 7 at Cindee’s, 232 W. Smith Road, Medina. The Cars tribute band “In Motion” will play. The requested donation is $5.
- A motorcycle poker run will begin July 8 at Stinger Harley Davidson, 3053 Eastpointe Drive, Medina Township, and end at the American Legion Hall, 120 Bank St., Lodi.
For information on fundraising efforts, contact Scot and Patti Neufer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on Begin Again, visit facebook.com/
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or email@example.com.
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