Local News

Raleigh 'Hope Squad' offers tips, recovery coaching after drug overdoses

Posted May 1

— The Raleigh Police Department has joined forces with two North Carolina nonprofits to form what's being called "The Hope Squad," a group that is hoping to help those dealing with drug problems.

Up until February, Raleigh police, Recovery Communities of North Carolina and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition were all working on their own to tackle drug issues.

"What we had were three organizations that were formerly in silos," Donald McDonald, of Recovery Communities of North Carolina, said.

Raleigh police knew the victims of drug overdoses through 911 traffic, but they couldn't afford the tools necessary to help those victims recover.

That's where the "Hope Squad" partnership comes into play.

"What makes this exciting is that we all came together and found out how our strengths, our tool kits, run," McDonald said.

Because of the partnership, there is now a new approach to overdoses.

When someone reports an overdose, Raleigh police sends that report to the group, which is made up of one officer and two recovery experts from the nonprofits.

Days later, that trio visits the survivor to provide overdose protection information and recovery coaching.

"There's a stigma associated with using drugs. There's a stigma associated with recovery. So, we want to empower those individuals to seek resources and feel like they are not alone," Jesse Bennett, with the Harm Reduction Coalition, said.

McDonald and Bennett take the work personally. They are both in long-term recovery from addiction

"My addiction was criminalized, so I spent multiple years incarcerated because of it," Bennett said. "So, my passion comes from not wanting to see others have to deal with that struggle."

Since the "Hope Squad" started its work earlier this year, they say the response from the community has been incredible.

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