"If we don't change, we won't improve." -Colonel Elmer Setting
"If we don't change, we won't improve."- Colonel Elmer Setting
Hope Street DE visited Colonel Elmer Setting on April 11. We wanted to know more about how we can develop our program and work with law enforcement to improve care for the suffering addict who gets arrested or detained for drug related criminal offenses. Many times, the way a person reaches treatment is through the police. The police handle an enormous amount of people suffering with addiction. Too Often, they have no other option but to arrest the people, when in many cases they need to take them to treatment. But... They are police officers, not counselors. A police officer can only do so much. There needs to be a more seamless process after arrest or detainment. Colonel Setting has been doing his research to help solve this problem. He wants to understand how to help and he truly wants to help people find long-term recovery. With his many years of experience, he understands policing approach has been behind the problem, instead of in front of the problem. He admits mistakes as a younger officer and how he viewed addiction. Through the years, he has matured in the way he sees addiction. He knows putting someone in jail for drug use is NOT the best solution. "The evidence lockers are full and the prison is full" Setting explained. He believes we need "Human Police Officers". Meaning, we need more community policing, so people are not afraid of the police. People need to know police are there to protect them. People need to know they can ask a police officer for help, if they need it. New Castle County has been practicing community policing for awhile, so this transition will not be a problem.
Setting is in the process of putting a better system in place to help the person in need almost immediately, but they have to make that choice to get help. It won't be forced upon them. When a person is given the power to choose, they take ownership of that choice. Empowering people is so important in addiction because addiction takes away your freedom. It takes away your life. It turns you into a zombie. It kills your self-esteem and self-confidence. Giving that person choice, in a way, is giving them hope. It's letting them know that you believe in them. It's giving them a challenge, which shows them you believe they are strong enough to handle it. Once the choice is made, they will be linked with proper services to help them get better. Long-term recovery is the goal. So, we need all hands on deck. Inpatient rehabilitation programs, hospitals, detoxes, police units, intensive outpatient centers, peer support services and families need to collaborate to help solve this epidemic.
Before we left, Colonel Setting suggested we read Chasing the Scream. He said it is very eye-opening and is helpful in understanding more about addiction and how it affects the family and community.
We thank you Colonel Setting for sitting down with us and helping us learn more on how we can better help our community. Your passion brings HOPE and encouragement to continue on our mission.