Judge Linda Davis, founder of Families Against Narcotics — the nonprofit that sparked the Hope Not Handcuffs initiative — spoke before assembled law enforcement officials in Keego Harbor Feb. 22 in hopes of getting more Oakland County police departments involved in the initiative, which aims to get opioid-addicted people into treatment.

Judge Linda Davis, founder of Families Against Narcotics — the nonprofit that sparked the Hope Not Handcuffs initiative — spoke before assembled law enforcement officials in Keego Harbor Feb. 22 in hopes of getting more Oakland County police departments involved in the initiative, which aims to get opioid-addicted people into treatment.

Photo provided by Amy Wechsler


Keego Harbor nonprofit encourages law enforcement to help people with addiction get treatment

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 1, 2018

KEEGO HARBOR — The opioid epidemic affects hundreds of thousands of people each year — people with addiction, their families and the communities are struggling to find a way to curb opioid use. 

Local law enforcement gathered on Thursday, Feb. 22, to listen to real-world testimony from a nonprofit that wants to team up with police departments to help get residents into treatment. 

The Hope Not Handcuffs initiative was started by District Court Judge Linda Davis, the founder of Families Against Narcotics. Hope Not Handcuffs is an initiative stemming from that nonprofit. 

Davis started FAN after her daughter battled with an opioid addiction. Her daughter had surgery and received opioid painkillers, and addiction spiraled from there.

“I was not aware this could happen in my family or to someone I love,” Davis said. “I became passionate because of that. ... I was blindsided and never realized how broken the system really was until I was in the midst of it.” 

Hope Not Handcuffs is a volunteer-based program that works with local police departments in Oakland and Macomb counties to get people who are addicted to opioids and narcotics into treatment rather than jail. 

“We don’t talk about addiction,” said Davis. “As a result of that, we’ve made a disease that has so much shame and stigma to it that it’s an impediment to us doing our jobs and an impediment for people who really want to get help.” 

The initiative allows residents to reach out to their local police department for help. Police officers reach out to Hope Not Handcuffs volunteers called Angels, who then take over and get the person the help they need. 

Hope Not Handcuffs works with the Oakland County Community Health Network to coordinate services for treatment. 

“If they are ready and willing and able, saying ‘I wish I had treatment right now,’ you can bring them to our crisis and resource center and they … are placed into treatment,” said Meagan Philips, access supervisor with the OCCHN. “Once they arrive on the unit, we have them placed in residential or detox treatment in 24 hours.” 

In the United States in 2016, there were 42,249 deaths associated with opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is an increase of 9,000 deaths from 2015. 

Fentanyl-related deaths increased by 378 percent in the same time period. 

The levels of help given to a resident depend on their personal needs. The Hope Not Handcuffs program has partnered with several treatment facilities, including Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health System and McLaren Hospitals. 

Hope Not Handcuffs’ first year saw the treatment of over 925 people in Macomb County. The program recently expanded to four police departments in Oakland County: Holly, Ferndale, Troy and South Lyon. 

West Bloomfield Police Department Deputy Chief Curt Lawson said that the WBPD is considering joining the initiative. Keego Harbor, Orchard Lake and Sylvan Lake are considering getting involved in the initiative, too. 

Davis said she hopes to get as many police departments involved as possible. 

The Hope Not Handcuffs program is looking for volunteers throughout Oakland County so it can continue to expand.

For more information, visit www.hopenothandcuffs.com.