Michigan State Police's Angel program already successful
The Angel program, which started at the Michigan State Police Post in Gaylord in October 2016, has expanded to most MSP posts. It means anyone struggling with a drug addiction can walk into a participating state police post to get help overcoming their addiction.
The person is safe from being arrested, and if accepted into the program, will receive treatment through a recovery program.
The Angel program has already assisted with 35 placements.
Julia Simonelli is one of the success stories.
After graduating college, getting a job and buying a house, she became addicted to heroin.
Her stepmom stumbled on a post about the MSP Angel program, so Simonelli took a leap of faith.
"To be a drug addict, walking into a public post is the most terrifying thing you really can experience. And they said 'Ok, do you have any paraphernalia? We're not here to get you in trouble,'" said Simonelli.
Eventually they connected Simonelli with a rehab facility.
After some ups and downs, she says she now feels healthier than ever.
"The Angel Program is a way for addicts to, instead of being arrested, get rehabilitation, because putting an addict in jail isn't always the best option," Simonelli said. "Part of what the Angel Program does is resource connection and that's the best part of a recovery program is that resource connection. To know where to go, who to talk to, if you're struggling, what to say to feel like you're not going to be in trouble. So because I have all of this support and the resources I need, I feel very confident in my recovery."