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  • Announcement

Families Against Narcotics Partners with Ionia County Sheriff and Belding and Portland Police Departments for Hope Not Handcuffs Program

Clinton Township, MI: Thanks to a new partnership between Families Against Narcotics (FAN) and local law enforcement, Ionia County residents who are seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction will have three convenient, local options for accessing the help they need.

FAN, a Macomb County-based nonprofit that compassionately assists individuals and families affected by substance use disorder (SUD), is excited to announce that its Hope Not Handcuffs initiative is now up and running at the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office and the Belding and Portland police departments.

One of FAN’s most successful programs, Hope Not Handcuffs is designed to give people who are struggling with SUD a safe and easy way to access help: by visiting their local police station.

The program’s concept is simple: Any person who is battling a substance use disorder can go to a participating agency and say they want help. They will be greeted with support, compassion, and respect, and one of FAN’s trained volunteer “Angels” will be dispatched to meet them. The Angel will then contact FAN’s Call Center and work with them to get the individual placed into treatment. In addition, program participants will be connected with peer support services, and their families will be offered family support services.

Since its inception in February of 2017, Hope Not Handcuffs has been implemented at 142 law enforcement agencies and community partners across Michigan, and has connected people to addiction treatment resources more than 12,400 times.

Ionia County Sheriff Charlie Noll is excited to bring Hope Not Handcuffs to the area. “In every community, there are people dealing with addiction,” he remarked. “Ours is no different. Partnering with Hope Not Handcuffs is another way that the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office is providing tools for those who want help and do not know where to look. It is the mission of the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office to provide a professional, ethical, and committed law enforcement service to all citizens of Ionia County. This partnership is a commitment to assist our citizens in need. Citizens entering this program will be treated for their addiction with the goal of allowing them to be productive members of our society.”

Belding Police Chief Dion Sower agrees that Hope Not Handcuffs is an important program, calling it “an invaluable resource to our community that will potentially save lives.”

Getting this initiative launched in the area required much work, and Jestine Garcia, Michigan Regional Coordinator for Hope Not Handcuffs, praises Ionia County Undersheriff Andrew Bucholtz for his assistance. “Undersheriff Bucholtz played a huge role in helping with law enforcement training and making sure the community was educated about the program.”


FAN’s Hope Not Handcuffs program, which depends on volunteer Angels to help it run smoothly, is looking for people in the Ionia County area to fill that role. “Our volunteer Angels are such an integral part of the Hope Not Handcuffs initiative,” Program Director Kim Baffo explained. “By volunteering as an Angel, people can assist fellow community members in finding recovery and getting a fresh start on life. This makes the community as a whole healthier. By working together, we can also reduce the stigma associated with the disease of addiction and facilitate positive change.” Baffo noted that the schedule for volunteer Angels is “extremely flexible” and the work is “incredibly rewarding.”

Lisa Cloman, who volunteers as an Angel in the area, echoes the importance of volunteering. “My passion is to help individuals by providing emotional support, inspiring others never to give up, and empowering more volunteer Angels to be a part of this amazing program. Hope Not Handcuffs is about connecting individuals to resources, helping rebuild their lives while overcoming barriers, and finding HOPE!”

For more information on becoming a volunteer Angel, or to register for an upcoming virtual or in-person training session, go to, email, or call 833-202-HOPE (4673).


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