VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A new program launched by Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle is focused on helping those addicted to opioids.
The program is called First Step, because it’s up to those who are addicted to opioids to take the first step and want help. It’s as easy as just showing up to a Virginia Beach police precinct.
“They have to take the first step and simply say ‘I need help,'” Stolle said.
The program is designed to help people who are addicted to substances heal and to keep them out of jail. The program was announced by police and the commonwealth’s attorney on Tuesday, in observance of National Recovery Month.
“I felt like we needed to do something for all the people in the public without them going through the criminal justice system,” he added.
Stolle says it is very simple. All someone has to do is tell a police officer or walk into a precinct and ask for help.
“Now I know some people may be leery of that idea, but the important thing to keep in mind is that the police department is fully on board with this program,” Stolle said.
That means officers aren’t looking to make arrests.
“They’re interested in getting them the help they need,” Stolle added.
One person addicted to opioids took advantage of the program recently.
“The officer knew exactly what to do and Pathways stepped in and hopefully that person is now on the path to recovery,” he said.
Stolle wanted to stress that this isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. If someone has warrants out for their arrest those warrants need to be served. If a person isn’t taken into custody after being served with a warrant or warrants — and they still want treatment — they can then participate in the First Step program.
Over the weekend, Stolle launched the public service announcement below, which featured Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate.