Community members rallied to support a program developed by the Berea and Olmstead Township Police Departments meant to give heroin addicts an avenue to seek recovery treatment.
Safe Passages was designed by law authorities to help addicts who want help get it. The program is paired with the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, PAARI, to create an alternative to addicts being incarcerated.
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The two programs are being combined by Berea and Olmstead Township to create the Safe Passages program. The two departments joined the PAARI program in August.
Community members and several groups were in attendance. The motorcycle stunt group Ride4Life provided a performance. Live music was played by Manic Episode and several guest speakers took the stage. Organizers said the rally was meant a s a fundraiser for Airfare4Addicts, a crowdsourced fundraiser that is used to assist needy program participants with travel expenses.
Merchandise was avaialable for sale and the Cleveland Browns provided gear for a raffle.
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Northeast Ohio has been ravaged by the heroin epidemic. Summit and Cuyahoga counties have been especially hard hit by heroin and an mixture of carfentanil, an animal tranquilizer, and fentanyl.
In September, Cuyahoga County had 52 fatal heroin over doses. The number matches a record set in August.