The city of Portland announced Monday that it has hired a new substance abuse disorder liaison to help it deal with the opioid addiction crisis.

In the new post, Oliver G. Bradeen will conduct ongoing outreach work with known drug users, according to a news release issued by the city. He will also help those addicted to drugs – as well as their families – find treatment options.

Bradeen will run the Portland Police Department’s Law Enforcement Addiction Advocacy Program, or LEAAP. He most recently served as the crisis police liaison for the Opportunity Alliance. The alliance was assigned to work with the police department on mental health and substance abuse-related issues.

“Implementing steps to address this epidemic has been a top priority of mine,” City Manager Jon Jennings said in a statement. “I’m thankful that we have quickly been able to hire a full-time dedicated resource to get this program up and running so that we can begin to proactively assist those struggling with addiction issues. It is my hope that we can continue to build the capacity of this program over time to achieve an even greater impact for our community.”

Bradeen’s job also will involve educating and raising the awareness of police officers and the community so that addiction is viewed as a medical issue, not a criminal matter.

“We are certainly committed to a war on addiction rather than a war on addicts; however, we will continue to arrest and seek the most severe punishments for the traffickers who bring this poison into our community,” Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said in a statement.

The newly created position will be funded with asset forfeiture money seized from drug dealers. Bradeen will operate out of the police station but will be assigned to work closely with officers and detectives. He will begin his new job on Feb. 1.

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