Fresno Rescue Mission will now reach out to people cited on drug charges

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Rescue Mission Sobering Center allows people with alcohol issues to come in, sleep and seek help. But now it is reaching out to those cited on drug charges, especially the homeless.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says in 2018, 30 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in Fresno. At least 19 of them were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

So now, officers will encourage those cited on drug charges to go to the Sobering Center to try to deal with addiction problems.

"In order for this program to work, there has to be two things - opportunity for change and the desire to change. We're going to create the opportunity for them to change on the front end," Dyer says.

Local leaders say the sobering center can be an alternative to incarceration.

But two-thirds of the people cited for drug charges don't bother to show up for their court dates.

"This really is not just about rehabilitation for people who are suffering addiction but really, crime prevention for them to try to keep them out of the system," says Fresno County DA Lisa Smittcamp.

It's hoped this non-traditional way of dealing with the homeless who are high in public can help save lives and get some of them off the streets.
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