Massachusetts Town Launches Unique Drug Recovery Program

New Challenges Require New Approaches

Glouscester, Mass. has been on the forefront of battling the opioid crisis for many years. However, even as new approaches are tried, more potent drugs are making it difficult for police and officials to make progress.

Police Chief John McCarthy explains -“We’re in a position to get people into treatment, but the sad part is the drug that they’re taking, in all probability, is going to put them into overdose. It’s a lot harder drug that’s on the street.”

Gloucester, like many other Massachusetts communities, is seeing more addicts overdosing on more potent drugs.

Police and the addiction counselors they work with have been stepping up efforts to reach addicts on the streets and in the homeless shelters and other places they congregate, rather than simply waiting for them to come through their doors.

These days, few addicts actually come into the police station. Most call the department and can typically be connected to treatment in short order by either a police officer or P.A.A.R.I., which opened its office across the street.

P.A.A.R.I. -the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative – is a nonprofit established to help the Gloucester police as well as more than 260 other departments in 30 states that have adopted its model- has also brought on a number of full-time staffers, including an outreach worker whose job is to keep up with the hundreds of addicts that have gone through the program and to seek out new participants.

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