Edited from a Press Release

Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli presented an update to City Council members this evening about the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.

Eighteen months ago, the Police Department received a federal grant to provide funding for a mental health professional from Prestera Center as well as overtime for officers to make contact with those suffering from addiction, either on an overdose call, through outreach efforts or within 48 to 72 hours after someone experiences an overdose.

Ciccarelli reported that of the 44 people who were contacted by officers or Prestera Center employee Krishawna Harless through the program in September, 27 percent accepted help and have entered residential treatment.

"This program signifies that there is an important role for law enforcement in the battle for control of the addiction problem in this community," Ciccarelli said. "It diverts those suffering from addiction away from the criminal justice system but still holds them accountable as they seek treatment."