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Tucson Police launch new initiative to help with drug addiction

TUCSON – Tucson Police Department is taking a very sad overdose situation that happened on Thursday and bringing help and hope to those with addiction.

When officers arrived to the scene, they found 6 potential overdose victims in their late teens to early 20’s.

Four are recovering but 19-year old Aaron Francisco Chavez did not survive.

At a press conference Friday morning, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said he cannot confirm what drugs were taken.

“But what they suspect that whatever drug or drugs they took were probably counterfeit drugs and contained fentanyl or a combination of multiple contain a high potency sinthetic opioids,” said Chief Magnus.

Tucson Police officers used a different drug to save the individuals.

“An opioid reversal drug, Naloxone to reverse the effects of these likely opioids,” said Chief Magnus.

Another lifesaving tool police are using is a new initiative called, Deflection.

“If addiction is a disease, why are we incarcerating people for suffering from this illness,” said Zack Stout who is part of the Pima County Justice Reform Unit,

That is exactly where Deflection comes into play, a victim vs a criminal.

“Our officers now have the discretion to direct someone immediately into treatment rather than taking them to jail for possession or use of small amounts of drugs including opioids,” said Chief Magnus.

Zak Stout used to have a drug addiction but he was taken to rehab and is now helping others like himself.

“Family members, if you have individuals or loved ones who have an addiction who are suffering, hold out hope.”

If you yourself are suffering, hold out hope because you can turn your life around. It is real it is possible,” said Stout.
Tucson Police said if you contact them during an overdose, they will help you and you will not go to jail.

If you are struggling with addiction, click here.

Heart of Illinois ABC

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