Lessons from Seattle: How this alternative to jail may be a solution for Utah

Police found her in a parking garage with a crack pipe, what they did will surprise you

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  • MacD slc, UT
    Dec. 27, 2017 4:01 p.m.

    Very good article about an important issue.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    Dec. 25, 2017 9:06 a.m.

    Any success depends on the addict personally deciding for themselves (as opposed to somebody else deciding for them, or playing the game) that they want to break free. Even then there will be back-slides, ongoing hunger/crave struggles to deal with.

    Until that personal decision is made, then any outsider effort to help (other than making it known that help is available) is a waste of resources.

    Ask anyone who has truly fought the battle

  • Oh Really? HERRIMAN, UT
    Dec. 22, 2017 1:36 p.m.

    @Rick for truth

    If you want truth, Rick, look no further than the article, paragraph 11:

    “According to a peer-reviewed study that looked at 318 people suspected of low-level drug and prostitution crime in downtown Seattle, participants in the program were 60 percent less likely to be arrested, 89 percent more likely to have a place to live and 46 percent more likely to have a job in the six months following enrollment.”

    That’s some pretty good cost savings. That is taking people off the streets. That is saving lives and healing families.

    I have friends who have died as a result of using opioids as prescribed. PROVO is the opioid capital of Utah. Innocent people, hooked by a product that is now prescribed 4 times as much as just a few years ago. The addicts aren’t the bad guys here, the evil and conspiring drug companies have played a role and need to step up to the plate.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Dec. 22, 2017 10:34 a.m.

    Wrong, this program has cost the Seattle tax payers millions, call this a switch and bait scam. Can you remember this year the overturned illegal tax on millionaires. Recidivism of drug abusers is over 90%. Crimes committed with ties to drugs and drug abuse is over 80%. Any program that returns these people faster to the general population only increases the crimes on the innocent. No, longer, stronger jail terms will be the only protection to the public. For those of you who just want to help them, then you step up and put one in your home, no, the silence is deafing.

  • Oh Really? HERRIMAN, UT
    Dec. 22, 2017 10:08 a.m.


    The funding for the program comes from compassionate donations and eventually from the fact it is cheaper to treat than to jail.

    Gambling and marijuana are not the answers. Each creates an increase in dysfunctional people, even homelessness, and cities in Colorado have found that revenues from pot fall far short of the increased expense burden to cities from dealing with the dysfunctional. You don’t solve one problem by creating another.

  • Oh Really? HERRIMAN, UT
    Dec. 22, 2017 10:03 a.m.


    “almost every single person in this category got there by their own choice.”

    I think you are confusing opioid addiction with heart disease, diabetes and COPD, each causing hundreds of thousands of deaths yearly, and each greatly affected by choice.

    And you are wrong about your statistics. More people die from opioid deaths than auto accidents or guns, and in the case of cars and guns, most often someone made a bad choice.

    In the case of opioid addiction, the single biggest cause is addiction due to “properly” prescribed pain medications, yet opioid prescription has more than quadrupled in the last decade or so. I doubt that increase is due to increased need. The drug companies and their pushers, ignorant medical professionals, are killing more than 60,000 people per year.

    So, before you judge and absolve society of a role or responsibility, at least get informed.

  • dlarsen Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2017 11:21 a.m.

    This seems to be a more realistic approach; as nobody will quit until they are ready. As quoted in the article from one of the police officers "We can't arrest our way out of this problem"!! This is exactly the approach the "Operation Rio Grande" is attempting to take. More of the budgeted money for this program was spend on officers (and Jail) overtime to arrest (And detain) people who obviously could not bail out. We have a Public Safety Director that is saying "They don't have to talk to us; but, then they can be arrested for Trespassing, Jaywalking, or littering"! The homeless project was started without knowing how it was to be funded! This is a perfect example of hiding the problem, instead of fixing it.
    Is it a coincidence that the State of Washington also has the Tremendous amount of financial ability to fund this program off profits made from legalized Marijuana and the Lottery? Does anyone think that the added benefit of Billions of extra dollars yearly contribute to a better way to make facility's for more beds for people that need help for serious addictions? The State of Utah is being selfish to it's homeless, and it's potential business people to be successful.

  • Sirbobg Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2017 10:08 a.m.

    Decent article, but what’s with the clickbait title?

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2017 9:02 a.m.

    What I like best about the Deseret News is the frequency with which its reporters go out of their way to ferret out the good news of the day and to write about these things. Many thanks! (And happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all the staff at the DN!)

  • Coyoteghost Saint George, UT
    Dec. 21, 2017 8:26 a.m.

    Sounds like good opportunities for practicing Christians and others to be a real much needed friend to those that hurt, badly.

  • dski HERRIMAN, UT
    Dec. 21, 2017 7:35 a.m.

    A touching story ! This personal story brings a face attached to the plight of drug addiction and it makes it so close and real. Unfortunately, almost every single person in this category got there by their own choice. Somehow, we do not give as much attention to other populations that cause a higher death counts. With all the higher death toll from motor vehicle accidents and gangs related shootings, the resources dedicated for them is pale in comparison to the resources spent for those who suffer from their own choices.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Dec. 21, 2017 7:29 a.m.

    Seems like a positive program. Oxycontin should be banned.

  • IAlaw Council Bluffs, IA
    Dec. 21, 2017 7:27 a.m.

    I want to see this type of approach more, and less of throwing people in a cage. I don't think nonviolent people who are addicted to a substance deserve jail time. They need help, not punishment.

  • Comely Canada, 00
    Dec. 21, 2017 6:51 a.m.

    I found this article along with the other in the series I read to be very moving. I credit much of that to the work and skill of the journalists. I was attracted to the stories largely because i have a dear friend in another province who has an adult daughter who is addicted to drugs. I am also trying to help an alcoholic in our ward to get sober. The patient efforts of the case managers and the tutor in this article are heroic. Seeing someone like the main character succeed in getting on to a much better, happier life must be tremendously rewarding. By the end of the article I end up admiring everyone of them.