Opioid addiction has become a hot topic lately and that's not a good thing.
But, here in Nash County, Nashville particularly, we have a lot to be proud of because here, law enforcement officials are trying to combat the problem in a different way and it's gaining some national recognition.
The HOPE initiative was introduced by Nashville's Police Department last February. It had a slow start but now has had close to 200 folks participating in the program, which tries to help opioid addicts get the necessary help they need.
There's no jail time, no lectures but instead there's genuine help. Of course, you have to be willing to get the help first.
This epidemic is scary. I hear almost daily calls come through the scanner of overdoses. Heroin, in particular, is killing people at alarming rates and it's killing people from all walks of life.
The HOPE initiative has, no doubt, saved lives. Police Chief Thomas Bashore stays busy almost 24 hours a day, it seems, working with those involved with the program. It's not a program where you just send an addict to rehab and hope for the best. Chief Bashore is in constant contact with these folks, ensuring they are successful in their attempts to get clean.
He's traveled all over the state talking about the program, encouraging other departments to implement similar programs.
I hope these other places will listen because it's obvious Nashville's approach is working.
I think it's great to have law enforcement officials who can admit there's a problem, instead of denying the problem and pretending it doesn't exist.
It's great to see leadership in law enforcement in Nashville as well as in the Nash County Sheriff's Office stepping up to help combat the opioid epidemic and being proactive. That approach is certainly saving lives!