Ocala police launch heroin and opioid drug amnesty program


Today the Ocala Police Department announced a new amnesty program to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic.

Just this year police say there have been 22 overdoses and seven overdose deaths in Ocala. Ocala Chief of Police Greg Graham said that's compared to 14 deaths for all of 2017.

Now police are using a different strategy to reach people struggling with heroin or opioid addiction.

" If someone who is addicted to opioids or any other drug wants help they can come to the police department, they can call us and we can go to their home and they can give us the drugs and ask for help," Graham said. "We're going to transport them to The Centers so they can get the help they need."

People struggling with addiction can turn in their drugs without fear of getting arrested.

" You're not going to be arrested. If you bring us drugs we'll take them and destroy them. You're going to be given help," Graham said.

Police say officers will transport people struggling with addiction to rehab facilities like the Centers and Perspectives where they can get help.

" Our purpose is to save lives and do everything we can to make our community better," Graham said. "This is just one more thing that we're trying to do to make our community better."

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