Logan CrawfordOct 30, 2017, 7:03 pmOct 31, 2017, 3:55 pm

Suffolk police 'pivot' towards treatment in new program to combat opioid epidemic

They're calling it their alternative to their arrest program.

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YAPHANK — Commissioner Tim Sini and other leaders in drug prevention announced a new program, “pivot,” that aims to prevent incarceration via opportunities for treatment.

"To identify individuals in our communities who can benefit from treatment and get their lives back on track and live law-abiding lives and that's what “pivot” is all about," Sini said at the Suffolk County police headquarters in Yaphank Monday.

Sini says police are actively searching for those who are drug dependent. They will be identifying people who visit pawn shops regularly, trading items in for cash to buy drugs.

Law enforcement will also catch drug dealers that can help police ID customers to get them treatment.

Officials are using money recovered during drug busts to pay for “pivot” and police will be partnering with the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.

Steve Chassman of LICADD says police aren’t going to be able to arrest their way out of this drug crisis.

"It gives people the opportunity to treat the disease that probably leads them beyond the law in the first place," Chassman said.

LICADD will set addicts up at treatment centers like outreach. John Venza of Outreach says there will be different lengths of treatment depending on the person's need.

"To be able to collaborate and find these individuals, do a comprehensive assessment, to find treatment at the right level of care for the right length of time is critical," Venza said.

Pivot is a pilot program for now in the sixth precinct where police see the most overdoses. If it's successful, pivot will expand to the rest of the county.

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