FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– A program in Fayette County is helping to combat the opioid crises here in Southern West Virginia in a hands-on way. 

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2011 as a way to combat the opioid epidemic by offering treatment and recovery instead of charges and jail time.  When Dave Taylor learned of this program, he immediately wanted to bring something similar to Southern West Virginia. 

“We kind of have taken that model and, you know, tailored it to Southern West Virginia because there are certain differences between Seattle and Fayette County, they’re different,” Taylor said.

Dave started his career in law enforcement and corrections when he himself became an addict.  Now, many years into recovery, he said understanding both sides of the law enforcement-addiction spectrum made him the perfect fit to lead a program like this. 

“Police officers speak their own language. People with substance abuse, they speak their own language,” Taylor added. “They trust me though.  The police trust me.  So, being able to be the in-between and bridge that gap, for me, that was the light bulb moment.  Like, I could make this happen.” 

The program takes low-level and first-time offenders and offers them treatment as an alternative to court sentencing.

“Get them into treatment, get them into recovery,” Taylor explained. “If there were any small charges those go away or not filed in the first place.”

He said this hands-on teamwork approach between law enforcement, the court system, recovery specialists, and the addicts themselves is the most effective way to combat the spiraling opioid crisis.

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, you can contact the LEAD program and seek recovery options, no questions asked.  To find out how click here.