Instead of jail, “Hope Not Handcuffs” gets people into addiction treatment
Think of someone with cancer, or hypertension, or diabetes.
Imagine hauling a person with cancer or diabetes before a judge, and charging him with a crime for having that disease? Obviously not, but that's what's happening to people in the grips of the disease of addiction.
A program called Hope Not Handcuffs is trying to change that paradigm by working with police agencies and the courts.
It was started by the group Families Against Narcotics (FAN), and it's gaining ground in Michigan.
Judge Linda Davis sits on the bench of the 41-B District Court in Macomb County, and she is also the president of FAN. She joined Stateside to tell us about the project.
"We know that having addiction is a disease," Davis said. "It is a chronic brain disease, and yet we oftentimes treat it as though it's some kind of a moral failing. And what we really are hoping to do with the Hope Not Handcuffs program is not only get people into treatment, but to begin to reduce the stigma of addiction."
Listen above to hear how the program places those that ask for help into treatment, how the group got every police department in Macomb County on board, and how she plans to see the program grow in the future.