Columbia police steer addicts toward treatment, not jail

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Hard drugs and alcohol. Top view

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Columbia police are steering drug addicts toward treatment instead of jail.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that police spokeswoman Bryana Larimer says the department has been providing its officers with pocket-sized informational cards. One side lists contact information for resources, including the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Opioid-Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education Project. The other side lists the signs of opioid overdose and overdose risk factors.

The department also has trained 130 officers in how to administer the overdose antidote naloxone, which also is known by the brand name Narcan. Additionally, two employees have completed a course to train new officers as they join the force.

Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark says the district is planning to train staff to use Narcan as well.

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