Partners of the Month – January 2019

This month’s Partners Facing Addiction post features a recovery community center based in Kansas City, Missouri and a law enforcement advocacy nonprofit in Medford, Massachusetts.

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Law Enforcement Action Partnership

LEAPLaw Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit of police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, and other law enforcement officials advocating for criminal justice and drug policy reforms that will make our communities safer and more just. LEAP supports medication-assisted treatment, including in correctional facilities, harm reduction practices including syringe exchange and supervised consumption spaces. Founded by five police officers in 2002, the organization has grown from its focus on solely drug policy to a speakers bureau of more than 200 criminal justice professionals advising on police-community relations, incarceration, harm reduction, drug policy, and global issues from a place of unassailable credibility and insight.

Public speaking, outreach, and education are key elements of LEAP’s mission. In December, Col. Ed Jackson spoke in support of harm reduction programs at a Maryland state agency’s statewide convening of law enforcement. Chief Dan Meloy (Ret.) spoke at an American University symposium on the future of the criminal justice system.

As a national group, LEAP works with many platforms and many locations. Last month, the organization’s law enforcement speakers also published op-eds and wrote letters targeted at key Senators in support of the First Step Act, which will help expand medication-assisted treatment in communities and inside correctional facilities nationwide. Also, former officers Jason Thomas and Carrie Roberts and Judge Lenny Frieling (Ret.) submitted written testimony in support of supervised consumption spaces for a Denver City Council hearing.

Criminal justice reform is a key aspect of changing the way people address addiction in their communities. LEAP’s mission is to unite and mobilize the voice of law enforcement in support of drug policy and criminal justice reforms that will make communities safer by focusing law enforcement resources on the greatest threats to public safety, promoting alternatives to arrest and incarceration, addressing the root causes of crime, and working toward healing police-community relations. By ending the War on Drugs, LEAP hopes to better protect human rights, reduce violence and addiction, and build public respect for and trust in law enforcement.

Footprints

Footprints is a group in Kansas City, Missouri that provides services to people in recovery including housing, support group meetings, life skills, and a drop-in center. Also, in partnership with the Veterans Administration (VA) we provide housing and case management for homeless veterans. This includes a variety of services from counseling to transportation. Footprints promotes a safe, healthy environment that encourages recovery at its brick-and-mortar location, the Wayne D. White Recovery Community Center.

The community center is located on Troost Avenue: a public bus stops right in front of the facility. The center is named in honor of Footprints’ founder, Wayne D. White, who passed away in 2012. It features a drop-in center, fellowship, support groups, computer skills training, recovery coaching, and classes for veterans and non-veterans who are seeking to overcome substance use disorders.

The center is also home to the Footprints to Recovery Outpatient Treatment program. Help is available for low income individuals who suffer from substance use disorders and have no insurance or income to pay for services. As a result, Footprints serves many men and women who are referred through the drug courts, detox centers, and Missouri Probation and Parole.

Footprints to Recovery also offers special recovery support. The newest program, MAMA’s House, is a safe and supportive residence for women who are in recovery from substance use disorders and other difficulties. The program is accredited by the National Alliance of Recovery Residences. Footprints is certified by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health as a provider of Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Support services and is governed by a board of directors made up volunteers from the local community.

“The goal of the Recovery Community Center is to improve quality of life, prevent relapse and sustain long-term recovery. It is not a clubhouse. It is a place where life’s challenges are faced with solutions and guidance. It is a place where skills are shared and learned. It is a place where isolation becomes inclusion and strangers become friends.” Having a place to go, where recovery thrives, is an important aspect of recovery for many people with substance use disorder.

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