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Rochester police, community organizations announce new program to help curb drug addiction

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) –  A new partnership aims to keep drug users out of jail and help them work toward recovery.

The Police Assisted Recovery Program, or P.A.R. involves the Rochester Police Department, Olmsted County Adult Behavioral Health, Doc’s Recovery House, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, Zumbro Valley Health Center, and EmPower Comprehensive Treatment Center.

About 20 percent of Rochester’s police force has been trained as Recovery Specialists.

They’ll be able to help people struggling with addiction seek assistance from one or more of the involved agencies.

The goal is to get people out of a cycle of drug use and crime and into long-term recovery plans.

However, Rochester Police want to be clear: the P.A.R. program is not a substitute for prosecution for crimes, and they’ll still be going after people who sell narcotics.

The program went into effect at the beginning of July and has already helped two people begin recovery.

“These are individuals, both individuals that we’ve encountered were frequent contacts of law enforcement, one individual was homeless, a former parolee, who we’ve had considerable contact with and now this individual is in treatment,” said Rochester Police Captain John Sherwin.

There’s no cost for eligible people to take advantage of the program.

Right now it’s being funded through drug seizure funds.

The program also includes an option for people to drop off any illegal narcotics and paraphernalia without consequences.

Erin O'Brien

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