Santa Fe's once-vaunted diversion program for people with addictions has dwindled to nearly nothing

One of the nation's first programs using police officers to get people into drug treatment instead of jail succeeded at first, and inspired other programs throughout New Mexico. But the original Santa Fe program now serves as a lesson in what can all but kill such a program, thanks to a leadership vacuum and mistakes that undercut the cultural change needed within a police department. Like the first program of its kind, in Seattle, Santa Fe's LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program takes aim at people whose drug abuse deeply entangles them in the justice system when what they need is treatment.

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