Roseville Police Chief Ryan Monroe discusses the Roseville Police Department’s new partnership with Families Against Narcotics at a press conference Aug. 11.

Roseville Police Chief Ryan Monroe discusses the Roseville Police Department’s new partnership with Families Against Narcotics at a press conference Aug. 11.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Roseville police team up with FAN to address overdoses

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 21, 2020


ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Police Department is teaming up with Fraser-based nonprofit Families Against Narcotics for a new program called the Quick Response Team.

The Quick Response Team’s goal is to provide experts who can speak to individuals who have recently had an overdose and attempt to either provide them with advice and counseling or get them into a substance abuse recovery facility.

“If that person is willing, we can get that person into treatment, and if they’re not, we can provide the family with some family services. Because this is a disease of the family, and often the family has no resources or they don’t know where to turn or know what to do, we make it easy for them. It’s seamless, and we tell them that we are going to find them help and do it as soon as we possibly can,” explained Linda Davis, the executive director of FAN. “We also can leave naloxone at the house, so if another overdose does occur, it can be administered by a family member and potentially save their life.”

The Quick Response Team will consist of a police officer from the Roseville Police Department, a peer recovery coach and a family recovery coach from FAN. They will provide services for the individual and for their family with the hope of getting that person into recovery.

“Family recovery coaches are family members who have gone through addiction with a loved one,” explained Davis. “They know how hard it is to navigate the system; they know the pitfalls that families fall into. Oftentimes, when the family changes their behavior, the person using drugs or alcohol will change their behavior. … Peer recovery coaches are people who have gone through substance use themselves, and they know what you’re feeling: the hopelessness and the shame of it all. They can talk to you on a level equal to you. It’s the first step toward building a support system. Both recovery coaches will stay involved with that person even after they leave a recovery center.”

Police officers will perform the checks as part of their regular duties, and the recovery coaches are volunteers from FAN. The remainder of the costs will be covered by a $25,000 grant that FAN received from the state of Michigan.

One of the peer recovery coaches, Jason Frontczak, said that this three-person team offers a variety of perspectives and avenues to help a person battling addiction.

“We can identify with that person. I’m coming up on six years of recovery myself — I was addicted to heroin and methamphetamines — so I can identify with that person and the sadness, the guilt, the shame,” he said. “We all want a better life, but what happens is that people lose hope, so we step in and provide that hope.”

The Quick Response Team was first established by FAN in Sterling Heights and Taylor earlier this year. The program in Roseville grew out of the relationship the department already had established with FAN through the Hope Not Handcuffs program, which was established in 2017.

“(Hope Not Handcuffs is) where if someone needed assistance and wanted to get into recovery, they could come into the Police Department and we would contact representatives from recovery facilities, and they would come out to help that person,” said Roseville Police Chief Ryan Monroe. “The Quick Response Team is an expansion of that program, where we are going to go out to anyone’s home in the city of Roseville who’s had an overdose or similar incident and perform a welfare check to make sure they are OK and then basically offer them the same opportunities that they could get through Hope Not Handcuffs.”

Davis said the other programs are already showing great results and that she expects the same from Roseville.

“We launched this in Sterling Heights and the police officers out there go above and beyond,” she said. “We’ve had about a 76% success rate in accessing either treatment for the family or the person in recovery. We’ve had to slow down because of COVID and going out to houses became a problem, but we kept going as best we could and we are back to full force now.”

Monroe stressed that this is not going to include the police breaking down anyone’s door or the team pestering those who do not want help. He said it will instead function similarly to wellness checks that anyone can already request from the police to ensure that someone they know is safe.

“We want them to know we are here to offer that assistance and facilitate that. We can’t kick in their door or anything. It’s a welfare check, so we knock on the door and try to reach out to them. If they don’t want to talk, they don’t have to talk,” he said. “It’s no different than if you have an elderly family member that no one has seen or talked to for some time, and we would go knock on their door and make sure they were all right.”

Monroe complimented FAN’s abilities at reaching those battling addiction and providing them with help.

“FAN can get them into a recovery program,” he remarked. “Whatever they are addicted to, whatever their disease is, they can provide them with a treatment plan. We’ve been told stories through Hope Not Handcuffs where they’ve gotten people into programs states away when there wasn’t room in the proper facility nearby.”

“This is a different type of program because it offers services directly to that person, whereas otherwise they might not know where to go in their addiction and feel lost,” added Frontczak.

Davis said a friendly offer of help and expertise within the first 72 hours after an overdose can make all the difference.

“There is a gap in care for people. Oftentimes, someone will overdose (on multiple occasions) and the police will go back out two or three times to the same house, and oftentimes it’s because that person goes to the hospital, gets stabilized and there’s no way to connect them to services that could help them to the next step,” said Davis. “Sometimes people are thinking a little clearer after an overdose, sometimes it scares them, sometimes they will just slow down after the ordeal. It’s a time when many people see how down and out they’ve become, so it’s an opportunity for us to reach out to them through a wellness check and show them resources are available.”

Her hope is that the Quick Response Team will prove to be just as successful as Hope Not Handcuffs.

“I’m hoping we will have more police departments in the near future. We started Hope Not Handcuffs with a handful of departments taking a part, and now we have 83 in the state of Michigan,” she said. “I’m hoping this program will grow in support and funding in the same way.”