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Rutland PD imposes new drug market intervention program - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland PD imposes new drug market intervention program

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

The City of Rutland is tackling its heroin problem with a new program that doesn't go after drug dealers or users, but where they buy the drugs.

Rutland wants drug dealers to know that you can't do business in the Marble City. The Rutland Police Department's new program infiltrates the specific locations where people know to go to buy heroin.

"People who want to buy heroin, they know where to go, there are people here who will connect dealers to buyers and we know where those locations are and we are working on those locations as we speak," said Scott Tucker, Rutland City Police Department captain.

The Rutland City Police Department is targeting locations, also known as open-air drug markets, like motel rooms, street corners and parks, with an innovative Drug Market Intervention program called "The High Point Initiative." Officials didn't name specific locations due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation.

Rutland PD brought in professors to start training more than 100 community members. The program focuses on shutting down the locations where people buy drugs.

"The whole idea is to drive the drug marketplaces out of the city of Rutland. We're not gonna eliminate drug dealers, we're not gonna eliminate drug buyers but we are gonna eliminate the whole idea that you can come to Rutland to buy drugs," said Tucker.

Using undercover drug operations and partnering with the community, like motel and hotel owner’s police are targeting these open air drug markets.

"We will arrest the people who need to be arrested and or those folks who are just trying to survive and need help, we are gonna help and give a second chance to some people," said Tucker.

Some of those people may be offered social services from Evergreen Substance Abuse Services, who served more than 800 people last year.

"We are gonna tell them, this is what we know you are doing, but we're also here to offer help - and that they'll have the ability to access that help," said Stephen McLaughlin, Evergreen Substance Abuse Service program director.

McLaughlin thinks getting rid of the drug marketplace is the key to solving the heroin problem.

"When you remove a marketplace from a community, it leaves a void where the individuals are gonna access the drugs," said McLaughlin.

Law enforcement believes this program will work because so many Rutland citizens are already involved.

"It will be successful because of the community," said Tucker.

This program is called the High Point Program because it was modeled after a program that was initiated in High Point, North Carolina. After seeing the success that city had in fighting their drug problem, Rutland thinks it is just the thing our city needs to fight ours.

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