Safe Stations program is having a big impact on heroin epidemic in Anne Arundel County

Posted at 10:59 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 22:59:49-04

The heroin epidemic is a problem across the state and a unique program is having a big impact in Anne Arundel County. 

On April 20, 2017, Anne Arundel officials and Governor Larry Hogan kicked off the Safe Stations program. Anyone struggling with opioid or heroin addiction can come into any fire station in the county and get help. And it didn't take long for the program to become popular. 

"Everything just kinda snowballed. This is definitely not where I saw myself as a little girl," said Jenna Keffer, the first person to use an Anne Arundel County safe station.

See also: $200k invested into AACO Safe Stations to expand program

"What they are doing is amazing," she said. "I had tried for months, I mean longer than that to get help and had been flat out told that they can't offer me help and I was at a dead end. I didn't know what I was going to do. You either get clean or you die and that's where my life was headed. I was going to end up dying."

Keffer wasn't the only one seeking help. Organizers say since they've started, 150 people have sought help. 

"It's been successful, not just in how it's been utilized, but we are also seeing some promising results from people who have come in to seek help," said Captain Russ Davies with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

RELATED: AACO launches 'Safe Stations' initiatives to fight heroin and opioid crisis

A large part of the success is focusing on getting people help, not making arrests.

"If they have drug paraphernalia, if they have drugs with them, the county police would be notified, just for disposal of those articles, but there would be no legal consequences for having those items," Davies said.

See also: Anne Arundel County program shows progress fighting opioid epidemic