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Families Against Narcotics launching 'Hope Not Handcuffs' initiative at OU

Event scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30 has been postponed. A new launch date will be forthcoming and this story updated.

icon of a calendarSeptember 20, 2022

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Families Against Narcotics launching Hope Not Handcuffs Initiative at OU
Hope Not Handcuffs
Oakland University will collaborate with Families Against Narcotics to launch a "Hope Not Handcuffs" program with the new launch date coming soon.

Families Against Narcotics (FAN), a Macomb County-based nonprofit organization founded in 2007, is teaming up with the Oakland University Police Department to bring hope to people who struggle with a substance use disorder and want to find recovery.

Since launching in February of 2017, FAN’s “Hope Not Handcuffs” program has compassionately connected more than 7,600 people statewide with the resources necessary to find recovery from addiction. The Oakland University Police Department will become the 122nd law enforcement agency/community partner in Michigan — and the fifth college or university—to collaborate with FAN on this initiative.

“We are excited about our new partnership with the Families Against Narcotics, which brings hope and recovery to those in our community who may have substance use disorder challenges,” said Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon. “The Hope Not Handcuffs program provides a proactive approach to our campus that offers alternative assistance outside the criminal justice arena. If just one person can benefit from this program, we will consider it a success.”

Agencies that have implemented the Hope Not Handcuffs program assist FAN’s efforts to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce their dependence on prescription medications, heroin, alcohol, or other drugs.

The concept is simple: Any person who is battling a substance use disorder can go to any Hope Not Handcuffs-affiliated police department or community partner and ask for help. They will be greeted with support, compassion, and respect, and one of FAN’s trained volunteer “Angels” will provide them with resources and guide them through a brief intake process to help them get the treatment they need and deserve.

Hope Not Handcuffs also provides trained and certified Peer Recovery Coaches for the individuals who participate in the program, as well as Family Recovery Coaches for family members or loved ones. The goal is to help everyone who’s been affected by the disease of addiction find recovery.

Oakland University Police Lieutenant Nicole Thompson said she  is happy to have Hope Not Handcuffs launching in the department. “When our representative from FAN, Safaa Elmessiri, approached our department and asked if we would be interested in joining other police agencies in Macomb and Oakland counties to be a part of this important program, I was excited to champion this program at OU."

“As I started to reach out to the OU community in an effort to find ‘Angel’ volunteers to help us make this program successful, we received an outstanding response from our OU partners who wanted to help,” Thompson added. “We already have eight ‘Angels’ trained and over 30 volunteers signed up to receive the training in the near future. We couldn’t make this program a success without out volunteers, so thank you for showing up and offering your support and services.”

Linda Davis, FAN’s Executive Director, is also excited about the organization’s flagship program coming to Oakland University. “It’s always so satisfying to see Hope Not Handcuffs grow,” she said. “With 24 participating police agencies in Oakland County, along with the recent launch of our new Oakland County FAN chapter, we will be able to help more individuals and families in this county than ever before.”

For more information, contact Kim Baffo, program director, Hope Not Handcuffs, at 586-322-9921 or kimb@familiesagainstnarcotics.org.

About Families Against Narcotics

Founded in 2007, Families Against Narcotics (FAN) is a nonprofit organization based in Macomb County, Mich.. They work to educate communities statewide about addiction, dispel the stigma associated with the disease, and compassionately support and assist those affected by it. FAN’s initiatives include Hope Not Handcuffs and the COMEBACK Quick Response Team wellness check program. You can learn more about FAN at familiesagainstnarcotics.org, and more about Hope Not Handcuffs at hopenothandcuffs.com.

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