Gloucester Police Department Press Release — Republished
Leonard Campanello, Chief of Police
197 Main St.
Gloucester , MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Gloucester Police Chief Announces Major Drug Policy Changes
Addicts Who Surrender their Drugs and Ask for Help will NOT be Charged — Will be Offered Treatment
Partnership with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and Addison Gilbert Hospital
Nasal Narcan to be Made Available for Free at Local Pharmacy
Chief to travel to Washington Next Week to Meet with Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Moulton
GPD Facebook Post Reaches 800,000 People as of Tuesday Morning
GLOUCESTER — In a historic shift in police drug policy, Police Chief Leonard Campanello announced at a citywide forum that the Gloucester Police Department is implementing major changes to the way it handles the opioid and drug epidemic that has swept through every community in the nation.
“We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this disease,” Chief Campanello told residents.
The Gloucester Police Department will implement the following measures, beginning in June:
1. 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, Gloucester Police 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,” Chief Campanello said.
Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester and Lahey Clinic have committed to helping fast track people that walk into the police department so that they can be assessed rapidly and the proper care can be administered quickly.
2. Nasal Narcan has just been made available at local pharmacies without a prescription. The police department has entered into an agreement with Conley’s Drug Store 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,” Chief Campanello said. “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. Conley’s has also agreed to assist with insurance requests from those who do not have any.”
3. Chief Campanello will travel to Washington,D.C. with the support of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, the City Council, Senator Bruce Tarr, and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, on May 12 and 13.
There, he 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,” Chief Campanello said. “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 businesses accountable for building a support system that can eradicate opiate addiction and provide long term, sustainable support to reduce recidivism.”
Chief Campanello plans to lobby the Federal Government to increase the share of monies seized from drug dealers that is given to local communities, earmarking it for recovery and prevention services.
On Saturday, May 2, the City held a forum regarding the opiate crisis, and on how Gloucester has many resources for help. Afterward, Chief Campanello posted his plans on the department’s Facebook page. Since Saturday, the post has attracted nearly 800,000 unique views.
His remarks also included the following:
“I am asking for your help,” Chief Campanello wrote. “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 seven 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.”