Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro held a press conference at the Berks Rise Center on April 13, highlighting the state’s LETI (Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative) program. The Council on Chemical Abuse’s Blue CARES – Next Step program is a part of that initiative, and Berks is one of only seven counties in the state currently participating.
In his remarks, Shapiro stressed that Berks County was selected as one of the first to participate because existing programs, like Warm Hand Off and Blue Cares, already help get individuals into treatment for addiction.
"We want to be in counties where they have figured out how to get law enforcement and treatment folks to work together," Shapiro said.
The goal of Blue CARES: Next Step is for law enforcement officers to assist individuals who have been arrested and are struggling with addiction, by referring them to treatment as an alternative to the criminal justice system.
It was developed in collaboration with the Berks County Office of the District Attorney and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. It establishes a clear process and procedure for the identification of eligible participants, and includes the timely connection of arrested individuals with drug and alcohol treatment services.