Scottsdale PD joins drug treatment initiative after implemented in Maryvale

Posted: Updated:
Precinct Commander Ed DeCastro says he would like to see the program implemented citywide. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Precinct Commander Ed DeCastro says he would like to see the program implemented citywide. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The Scottsdale Police Department is now participating in a program that helps drug addicts who turn themselves in to police without fear of facing charges.

The program has been tested out in Phoenix Police Department’s Maryvale precinct.

The Angel Initiative is an effort by the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The program launched October 2016 in Maryvale, and in that time, 17 people have come to the Maryvale police station seeking drug treatment. 

Precinct Commander Ed DeCastro says out of those 17, up to three dropped out and up to seven successfully entered treatment.

“The stigma of coming into a police station, I think, has been tough,” says DeCastro, who has trained his patrol officers in the field to identify someone in crisis and guide them to drug rehabilitation resources. 

“We can ask them ‘do you want help? This is the fourth time I’ve come and talked to you. Do you want to get off drugs?’”

DeCastro says he would like to see the program implemented citywide. He says there has been some discussion of offering another place for addicts to seek help because many of them may find a police station intimidating.

Scottsdale police say anyone seeking help through the Angel Initiative can contact any officer or walk into any of their four district stations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Department representatives will then pair the participant with an “angel” who volunteers to guide the participant through an evaluation and secure appropriate services.

According to a release, “angel” volunteers educate participants on solutions, lead classes and groups to build the skills to overcome obstacles, provide aftercare and support, and arrange childcare for parents working on their recovery.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Opioid Crisis in Arizona]

Individuals who choose to become part of the Angel Initiative in Scottsdale 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 offenses, crimes against children or the elderly

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