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Delray Police Chief Eyes New Position To Tackle City's Heroin Problem

Can Delray Beach do more to battle its heroin problem? (MGN)

Delray Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Goldman says the City's challenges dealing with heroin users and addicts is a very real epidemic.

They're not alone.

"It's not just a Delray Beach issue, it's a nationwide issue, but our department has taken it as one of our top priorities because it's not only the drug part to it, it's all of the other things happening in the recovery industry," Chief Goldman said.

(Town Hall being held this week about heroin epidemic)

He says they have taken different approaches in their effort to curb the problem.

He is now introducing a new idea; hiring a clinical social worker at the department.

Chief Goldman says in all of 2015 his officers responded to 195 overdoses. Since January 1, 2016 the same officers have responded to more than 220 overdoses.

"Delray has become an area known for recovery, we don't want to be known as an area for relapse," Chief Goldman said. "It changes the make up off a community, quality of life for a community when you start putting people in a community who aren't from here."

Chief Goldman is talking about the many people who come from out of state seeking help from Delray Beach treatment programs, but may often fall out of those problems and onto the streets, relapsing and turning back to drugs.

The position of a clinical social worker would be funded at first by grants. Chief Goldman says the difference with having a clinical social worker employed by the police department is that it would provide immediate access to addicts and could help reduce relapse potential.

"What's happening, it's a cycle that's not a complete cycle," Chief Goldman said. "We go out, our officers go to these hours where an individual overdoses. After they're transported, we go back and interview them, we try to find out where they're getting the drugs, gather intelligence so we can make an arrest and that's it. We stop. Then all of a sudden, we'll get another call at that house. The same person keeps coming up. What's missing in there is getting them back on track, getting them to where their recovery needs to be going."

Chief Goldman says the person hired for the job would also work on people dealing with other issues including homelessness and mental health.

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