TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is launching a new program in which those with drug addictions can seek professional help without the fear of being charged or arrested.
“Historically, law enforcement has dealt with our problem with drug addiction by basically placing individuals in jail, and that feeds a stigma that it keeps abusers, a lot of times, from seeking help,” said Sheriff Daniel Edwards.
The program is called Operation Angel.
Through the program, those suffering from drug addictions can go to any substation or police department in the parish and ask for professional help without being arrested. They can also turn in any drugs or paraphernalia without being charged and receive free transportation to a treatment facility.
“Agencies all across the country, they’re working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard community policing practice,” said Edwards.
Nearly 90 percent of people in the parish’s jails are there for drug use or something they did while using drugs, according to Edwards. He hopes Operation Angel will give people battling drug addiction a second chance at life.
Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes adopted the program, but participants do not have to be residents in either parish to receive service.