MOUNT JOY, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A program in Lancaster County is giving people struggling with addiction a second chance instead of time behind bars. W...
MOUNT JOY, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- A program in Lancaster County is giving people struggling with addiction a second chance instead of time behind bars.
When it first started, the Second Chance Program had just two police departments on board. Now, 14 police departments all across Lancaster County are having their officers trained.
It works like this: Officers trained in the Second Chance Program call certified addiction recovery specialists.
Blueprints for Addiction Recovery works closely with the Second Chance Program. No matter the time of day, specialists meet the person who is struggling with addiction wherever they are - behind dumpsters, at police departments, or their homes.
For one Lancaster County woman who is now 11 months clean and sober, the treatment she received after being connected with a specialist has been life changing.
Jackie Seiders and Corporal Jesse Schlotzhauer play a friendly game of foosball Sunday afternoon at Blueprints for Addiction Recovery in Mount Joy. It's the first time the two have seen each other since Schlotzhauer arrested Seiders.
"It is definitely better circumstances. I was in a terrible place last time we saw each other. They [Second Chances] helped save my life," said Seiders.
Once addicted to meth and heroin, now Seiders is celebrating 11 months clean and sober; she is also holding a steady job and spending time with her 5 kids.
"We're just like stuck in the grip of it, and we need a way out, and a lot of people don't know there is a way out," explained Seiders.
Cpl. Schlotzhauer called Second Chance on behalf of Seiders. It doesn't offer detoxification services, but addiction recovery specialists can find a place that does as well as other recovery support.
"I can speak for officers in this county, in this state, and officers across the country, we get into this career to help people and this is the perfect example of how we can do that," said Cpl. Jesse Schlotzhauer with Elizabethtown Police Department.
"We have 14 departments on board now. When we last met, we had two," said Chris Dreisbach, the founder of Second Chance and CEO of Blueprints for Addiction Recovery.
Dreisbach says that is a big deal.
"14 full police departments are now fully on board with protecting the health of the people in their community instead of just putting people in cages for having an addiction," added Dreisbach.
Just one year in, Dreisbach says the specialists have referred over 100 people to some form of addiction treatment. Of that, about 70 percent he says actually entered the treatment service.
"Our latest data shows that 60 percent of the 70 percent are following through," he added. "There are tons of people who need help. This is just a new avenue to get people the help they need."
"I don't think we need to be setting in jail," agreed Seiders. "We just need help."
Organizers want to continue breaking the stigma surrounding addiction; they say they hope to have Dauphin and York County police departments on board one day too.