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Nearly 1,000 drug users get treatment over jail time in Tucson

Opioid addiction drugs
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 00:20:37-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Over the past 18 months, Tucson Police have helped avert nearly 1,000 people from serving jail time over small drug-related offenses.

The main goal of TPD's deflection program is to address drug abuse in the community. Tucson Police provides treatment options instead of jail to people possessing a small amount of drugs or drug paraphernalia.

The program started on July 1, 2018 and has been nationally recognized for its success, according Assistant Chief Kevin Hall.

TPD Chief Chris Magnus gave an update on the program to city and county officials earlier this month. The department is one of only a handful of police agencies throughout the country that participate in a deflection or diversion program.

RELATED: Pima County safely reducing jail population

The update provided statistics from the start of the program to Dec. 10, 2019.

In total, 953 people were deflected from jail. Eight people were self-referred, meaning they showed up at a police facility looking for help. And 19 people sought out a police officer or CSO in the field for help.

TPD's deflection program is one of six national learning sites designated by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, according to Hall. The designation allows other agencies from across the U.S. to visit Tucson to learn from TPD's program.

RELATED: Pima County tracking results of jail population reduction efforts