Newton Falls HALO program helps those addicted get treatment - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Newton Falls HALO program helps those addicted get treatment

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NEWTON FALLS, Ohio -

21 News continues it's solution oriented reporting on the heroin crisis in 2018.

Newton Falls has launched a program that offers treatment instead of jail time for drug addicts who turn themselves in to police.

The dollars to fund the program are made possible from a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Attorney General's Office, and the idea comes from a Youngstown woman now clean and sober from heroin for five years.

One look at Nicole Walmsley's mug shot from the Trumbull County Jail from years ago, and it's hard to believe she is the woman we're talking to today.

"I was seven years in my addiction, been arrested 18 times, incarcerated for 419 days, and spent 2,553 days doing heroin," Walmsley said.

Now this former addict is five years clean and sober.

And the Youngstown woman's greatest accomplishment is still in the works.  Because she's established the HALO program with the Newton Falls Police.

HALO stands for "Helping Addicted Loved Ones."

"And I brought it in 2015 to Lodi, Ohio.  Lodi is the first with over 30 departments operating, we've placed maybe about 500 addicts into treatment in the past two years," Walmsley tells 21 News.

A city of just 5,000, Newton Falls learned it has the third most serious heroin and opioid problem in Trumbull County, and they're counting on HALO, a voluntary turn-in program to literally turn things around.

Newton Falls Patrol Officer Brandon Frank says, "Our biggest hurdle though is going to be people are not going to be accepting of the idea of going to the police and saying I have a drug problem."

But Newton Falls officials and people say the HALO Program is not a free pass.  If you're caught with drugs rather than turning yourself in, you will be arrested and prosecuted.

The goal with HALO is for addicts desperate to get clean to reach out to authorities for help, and authorities in return to help get them treatment.

It's similar to what the courts and CCA in Youngstown did for Nicole years ago, "They gotta want to live more than they want to die."

To find out more you can call Newton Falls Police at:  (330) 872-5757.

You can also log on to their Facebook page at:  www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsPD

The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board has a 24-Hour information and referral line for anyone seeking help.  Call:
(330) 392-1100.

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