NEWARK, OH (WCMH) — For the past year police officer Trent Stanford has overseen the Newark Addiction Recovery Initiative (NARI), introduced by Police Chief Barry Connell.
Ninety-two people have participated in the program since June 2016.
Some of them have seen great success, others have struggled with relapsing into their addiction.
Johnathon Chaney is one of the more recent success stories.
Chaney came to Ohio in 2007 already addicted to opioids.
He had injured his back and was prescribed pills to manage his pain.
Eventually, he began abusing them and when his pill count didn’t match his doctor’s orders, his physician revoked his prescription.
Chaney says, it forced him into withdrawal.
To ease his pain, he turned to heroin and was hooked.
By 2010 he had made his way to Newark, OH.
He spent many a night sitting under a bridge, propped up against the cement wall between two overhead lights, shooting dope and falling asleep.
Chaney says, he has overdosed 13 times.
In November 2016, he finally reached a point where he truly wanted to be clean.
He got in contact with NARI and was admitted the next day to a rehab where he spent the next five days going through withdrawal.
Chaney has been clean ever since.
He says, the difference between NARI and the 11 other rehab programs boils down to two things; his desire to be clean and the way he was treated by the people running the program.
Officer Trent Stanford runs the program out of the Newark Police Department with the assistance of volunteer Colleen Richards.
Richards, who had a daughter who suffered opioid addiction for years, says treating addicts as human beings with empathy and care makes all the difference when they first get to the program.
According to Stanford, most addicts are wary of police officers, and don’t trust programs like the one he runs.
He has to work extra hard to show them that all he cares about is getting them clean.
The program is based in part on another program out of Massachusetts.
Addicts who willingly come to NARI are set up at a detox and recovery center.
Not all who apply qualify, but most do; and unfortunately not all who qualify can get in.
A lack of resources sufficient to meet demand is one of the biggest hurdles NARI has faced in its inaugural year.
Stanford is hoping that changes soon; so that when he gets 14 addicts seeking help in a single week, he can help more than two of them.