Massachusetts has been fighting a growing wave of heroin addiction and deaths. Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello has had enough and is taking some extraordinary new steps to combat it:
In the first three months of 2015, Gloucester encountered the state’s opiate epidemic head on, responding to dozens of overdoses and experiencing four opiate deaths.Beginning immediately, addicts who want to find help can walk into a police station and ask for it. Rather than being hauled off to jail, they'll instead head to a detox program. And Chief Campanello didn't stop there:The deaths have propelled a dramatic change in Gloucester’s drug policies in the last month, with the town announcing Saturday that it will offer detox programs instead of jail time to addicts that turn themselves in with drug supplies.
Additionally, the department will use proceeds from drug forfeitures to supply Narcan, a nasal spray that can help revive someone in the midst of an overdose, to residents at little to no charge at local pharmacies.For drug addicts, particularly heroin addicts, THIS is how you protect and serve. From Chief Campanello's interview with WCVB:
We are done with an addict being criminally charged. We will take the extra step and make sure they get the treatment they need.Additionally, Chief Campanello plans to travel to D.C. to ask lawmakers to allow cities to keep more funds from money and assets seized in drug raids to pay for more treatment.
Read the official announcement from the Gloucester Police Department here:
PLEASE READ THIS POST:
On Saturday, May 2, the City held a forum regarding the opiate crisis, and on how Gloucester has many resources for help. We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this DISEASE. Your Police Department vowed to take the following measures to assist, beginning June 1, 2015:- Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an "angel" who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot. Addison Gilbert and Lahey Clinic have committed to helping fast track people that walk into the police department so that they can be assessed quickly and the proper care can be administered quickly.- Nasal Narcan has just been made available at local pharmacies without a prescription. The police department has entered into an agreement with Conleys and is working on one with CVS that will allow anyone access to the drug at little to no cost regardless of their insurance. The police department will pay the cost of nasal narcan for those without insurance. We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations. We will save lives with the money from the pockets of those who would take them. We recognize that nasal narcan is not the answer, but it is saving lives and no one in this City will be denied a life saving drug for this disease just because of a lack of insurance. Conleys has also agreed to assist with insurance requests from those who do not have any.- I will personally travel to Washington DC, with the support of Mayor Theken, the City Council, Sen. Bruce Tarr, and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, on May 12 and 13. There I will meet with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton. I will bring what Gloucester is accomplishing and challenge them to change, at the federal level, how we receive aid, support and assistance. I will bring the idea of how far Gloucester is willing to go to fight this disease and will ask them to hold federal agencies, insurance companies and big business accountable for building a support system that can eradicate opiate addiction and provide long term, sustainable support to reduce recidivism.I am asking for your help. Like this post, send it to everyone you can think of and ask them to do the same. Speak your comments. Create strength in numbers. I will bring it with me to show how many voters are concerned about this issue. Lives are literally at stake. I have been on both sides of this issue, having spent 7 years as a plainclothes narcotics detective. I have arrested or charged many addicts and dealers. I've never arrested a tobacco addict, nor have I ever seen one turned down for help when they develop lung cancer, whether or not they have insurance. The reasons for the difference in care between a tobacco addict and an opiate addict is stigma and money. Petty reasons to lose a life.
Please help us make permanent change here in Gloucester.Thank you,