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The new beat around the block

Published On: 10-09-2015 in Category: addiction


From drug dealers to addicts, the streets can include people on a variety of substances at night. Society views them as a problem and not as people needing help. The reality is that any adult on drugs was once a child on the verge of making a right or wrong decision to abuse illicit substances. Some people may have chosen poorly, but should not be shamed constantly for their past actions. Fortunately, there is an initiative in effect by police officers to help drug addicts receive treatment in Boston.

The facts

A survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, finds that, “In Massachusetts, about 62,000 adolescents — 12.6 percent of all adolescents — per year in 2009–2013, reported using illicit drugs within the month prior to being surveyed.” These adolescents can easily become future drug addicts. This is not to promote the idea of addiction being inevitable in people once they try an illicit substance. Rather, there are alternative ways to aid adults struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

The Boston Public Health Commission reports that in 2012, around 1,000 Boston hospitals dealt with, “unintentional overdose/poisoning hospital patient encounters,” from heroin and other opioids.

The initiative

The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative is one such way to avoid locking up addicts who need treatment and helping them get to a rehabilitation facility. The initiative, also known as P.A.A.R.I., “was started to support local police departments as they work with opioid addicts,” as stated on their website. Started by Gloucester Police Chief, Leonard Campanello, the initiative strives to:

1.Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery

2.Connect addicts with treatment programs and facilities

3.Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic

The initiative includes background which spurred P.A.A.R.I., “Police officers often found themselves arresting drug addicts as much, if not more so, than drug dealers and traffickers.” P.A.A.R.I. offers support instead of an arrest as, “Drug addicts who ask the police department for help will be immediately taken to a hospital and placed in a recovery program.” Giving them an opportunity to heal through treatment in lieu of wasting time in a cell.

If there is a loved one or person in your life who displays signs of being addicted to a substance, seek help immediately. Reach out to a professional or treatment center for information and treatment options. Don’t let yourself or a loved one wander the streets alone, in danger, confused and vulnerable to overdose or worse.

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