(KPLR) - The father of a heroin addict helped his son run from the law. He`s now helping other addicts run. He`s risking felony charges to save their lives.
Dave Admire feared his son Brad would die if he didn`t get more intense rehab in another state. The problem was that his son was about to get an ankle monitor after a third felony theft conviction. Before authorities showed up, Admire put his son on an airplane to Florida.
Admire told me, 'The parole agent got to my house to put the ankle bracelet on and I explained he`s not here. She said is he gone? Missing? I said no he`s not missing, he`s in a safe place and he`ll be back in maybe six months.'
Dave Admire said his son Brad's been to rehab 5 times in Illinois. He had to find another option.
Admire said, 'They essentially told me I could be arrested for aiding and abetting a felon. As a father, I did what was right and sent him anyway.'
For two reasons, he said.
1. Get him away from where he found heroin, where familiar people or sights make addicts want to use again.
2. Get him better help. He said states like Florida offer longer and more intense treatment.
Admire told me, 'In Florida you can get at least 56 days treatment. Generally in Illinois it`s 14-28 days depending on what the insurance company allows.'
We caught up with his son in Florida, along with advocate Chad Sabora, who helped coordinate his treatment.
Brad sat with Sabora as he said, 'If you can have violations of parole or warrants out for your arrest because you left the State trying to better your life, so be it, in order to be clean and sober and know you`re not going to die that day."
Brad is doing so well, Dave is now helping other addicts. He told me, 'This weekend I was taking a young man to the airport to send him to Florida for treatment and got to his residence to pick him up and nobody answered the door and found him overdosed in his bedroom.'
Dave revived him with a shot of Narcan, a medicine that knocks opiates out of the receptors in a user`s brain. Dave later walked the addict through Lambert International Airport to put him on a plane.
Dave said, 'He was very thankful to be alive, realized he had a second chance at life and maybe it may help him with his recovery because he may think about the day before he went.' He added, 'I`ve had other family members come to me that`s actually lost a child because they couldn`t leave the state because of the parole board. They overdosed and died.'
Troy Police Detective Chris Coyne told me, 'We`ll never arrest our way out of this problem.'
Detective Coyne is looking for new ways to combat heroin.
He said, 'I`m tired of going to death scenes. I`m tired of talking to parents who have lost their children. It`s not how it`s supposed to be.'
Coyne is talking to whoever he can, not just to educate, but also to learn something himself.
He said, 'As a police officer, obviously I can`t condone breaking the law. As a parent, when you have something that`s turned into an epidemic, maybe even a pandemic like this has, at least I understand the drastic measures that parents are going through to save their kids.'
In Brad Admire`s case, he was not arrested. His Dad Dave Admire and advocate Chad Sabora communicated with authorities about where he was. They didn`t hide anything. Admire and Sabora are now working on a program that would allow addicts with convictions to leave the state for the best help. It`s called the Missouri Network Angel Initiative. You can find out more about the initiative though the Missouri Network For Opiate Reform & Recovery. You'll find information about the Angel Initiative under the "Find Help" tab. Chad Sabora is now working with authorities in Madison County, Il. Sabora says he will add more counties in IL and MO as the need arises. Sabora is coordinating the new initiative with Preferred Family Healthcare, Gateway Foundation and Chestnut Foundation in Illinois. In Florida, Sabora is working with Waters Edge Recovery in Florida, where Brad Admire went.
Follow Fox 2`s Chris Hayes on Twitter @ChrisHayesTV