BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — From opioid addition to other highly-addictive drugs, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is taking a new approach to help people overcome illicit drug use.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says there are three primary things that keep addicts from seeking help — lack of knowledge, money and transportation.
In 2018, the sheriff’s office launched the Anchor Initiative Program which aims to help people navigate the process of seeking treatment for substance abuse addiction.
Since its inception, approximately 150 people have participated in the program which has achieved positive results.
“When a person is at a point in their life to get help with their addiction problem, they’ll come to us, call us, whatever it might be, they encounter our deputies on the street or any of the other first responders, we’ll take them to the hospital, have them accessed, if they need detox, we get them into a detox program,” said Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram. “Unfortunately, we don’t have one here in Brunswick County so we’re dependent upon detox programs outside of our county.”
Once a person completes a detox program, the sheriff’s office actively works to get the individual into a treatment program followed by assistance with transitional housing and employment.
“We can’t just get them to treatment and expect it to stop there,” Ingram said. “We try to stick with them through the process.”
Successfully treating drug addiction, the sheriff says, involves understanding the process.
“The drug war that we’ve been fighting all these years is a simple business, the law of supply and demand,” Ingram said. “We’ve been attacking that supply side all of these years without addressing that demand side.”
The Anchor Initiative Program, however, addresses the issue of addiction and people suffering from addiction which attacks the demand side.
“If you reduce the demand, you’re inherently going to reduce the supply,” Ingram said.
Ultimately, the Anchor Initiative Program saves lives but there are other benefits as well.
“It helps slow down people going through that revolving door of the judicial process, in and out of our local jails and prisons, once people get help,” Ingram said. “Statistically, its proven that people have to go through a treatment program as much as seven times before they finally learn to live with and manage their addiction, you don’t get cured from it, but you can certainly live a productive life if you have the right tools.”
The program is funded through donations.
“When we started initially we raised about $12,000 and now we’ve been able to get donations from the local ABC Boards who are donating funds and that has really helped us tremendously,” Ingram said.
If you are interested in donating to the program, go to the Brunswick Sheriff’s Charitable website and click on the Anchor Initiative tab.