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Success helping opiate addicts with Safe Passage program

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti visited UnityPoint Health Robert Young Center to discuss mental health and opioid addiction.

Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti learned about Safe Passage, a program started in September of 2015, it's a program aimed at getting people suffering from addiction the help they need instead of putting them in jail.

Since it's start the program has helped 160 people and about 60% of the people who went through the program are still sober today.

They've also seen a decrease on a day to day basis with the amount of people in jail.

"We're restoring families, I've got countless emails, letters, phone calls talking about how important it is mom is back home taking care of her kids, or dad's back in the picture going to his kid's practices or coaching," said Chief Danny Langloss, Dixon Police Department.

Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti was impressed by the program.

“Illinois is very lucky to have the Safe Passage program which was created to help heroin and opiate addicts receive much needed treatment as opposed to putting them in jail. We are very proud of the program as it is the first of this kind in Illinois and only the second such program in the country,” Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said.

The governor said she hopes to see more programs like this throughout the state.