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War on drug: Police departments follow Gloucester PD’s Angel Program against addiction

Published On: 02-10-2016 in Category: addiction, Drug abuse


Cops are known to be tough and harsh on the lawbreakers. However, a humane approach of the Gloucester Police Department has not only been saving addicts – allegedly indulging in unlawful activities to meet their needs – from landing in jails, but has also been helpful in treating them of their addiction.

The Gloucester Police Chief, Leonard Campanello, came to the rescue of the addicts dealing with drug overdoses by taking them to a rehab center for treatment of their problem rather than sending them behind bars. The police department’s efforts to deal with addicts were publicly announced on Facebook last year.

“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,” reads Campanello’s Facebook status. “Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery and send them for treatment on the spot.”

The message was viewed by more than, 37,000 people, which is 8,000 more than Gloucester’s entire population. Leonard realized that his Facebook message had hit the bull’s eye. His department is now working aggressively on the program since January to combat the addiction problem.

According to the Boston Public Health Commission figures, the state witnessed 45 percent increase in anti-overdose medication in the past year. Between 2014 and 2015, the use of Narcan – or naloxone, an opioid antagonist used for the reversal of opioid overdose – increased from 809 to 1,178 instances and 33 times in 2016, according to the most recent data.

The police department addressed people about the help they are willing to provide to the addicts. “The good news is all were brought back to us by the increased availability and proliferation of Narcan,” Campanello shared with the media.

The Gloucester Police Department have been running Angel Program since June 2015, and that has defined their policy to screen an addict and counsel him or her to follow the right recovery path. One of the most unusual law enforcement officers, Campanello has helped the state in fighting the opiate addiction issues as an alternative to imprisonment for heroin addicts. Connecting to the citizens on emotional grounds, he is successfully inducting the addicts into detox programs.

The new approach

The epidemic of heroin and prescription painkillers has struck the United States killing 47,055 people in 2014, which is more than the number of people who died in car accidents, homicides or suicides. The Gloucester approach is a promising new way to address the problem, saving 391 addicts since the start of the program, a commendable feat indeed.

This model has been replicated in 56 other police departments across 17 states of America. As many as 110 more police departments are gearing up to roll out the Gloucester model. As many as 200 treatment centers across the country have signed on as partners.

On an average, the program costs just $55 a day for each addict’s treatment compared to $220 spent to arrest and hold an addict in custody for the same period. With such energies and initiatives, there is hope for improvement.

If you or a loved one needs an effective treatment to get rid of drug abuse, call the Boston Drug Treatment Rehab Center helpline at 857-254-1818 to find out more about certified medical interventions and services.

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