VASSALBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The opioid crisis has sparked a brand new way of teaching at Maine's Criminal Justice Academy.
This week, the academy hosted its first class called "Recognizing Addiction." Cadets heard from a representative from the Maine Center for Disease Control about the way addiction affects the brain, and ways to recognize and help those struggling with addiction.
"I think law-enforcement has evolved over the years to look at the problems of society and the enforcement of law more globally," said the academy's assistant director, Rick Desjardins.
Desjardins is a former police officer. He says over the years, he's learned a lot about addiction - from experience. These cadets will also learn on the job, but a class like this will help them along.
"We just have to do it better and part of that is recognizing that we can't arrest our way out of this; and as the enforcer of law sometimes you have to step back and recognize yeah maybe this isn't working."
Desjardins taught the class on Monday along with Christine Theriault from the Maine CDC.
"There are so many different ways to help," said Theriault. "Sometimes it's finding a place to stay or some food, and connecting them to the people who can be the one sole source of support."
© 2017 WCSH-TV