Ray Dupuis, Chief of Police
552 Main St.,
Watertown, MA 02472
Leonard Campanello, Co-Founder
John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
One Bridge St., Suite #300
Newton, MA 02458
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Watertown Police Department Joins P.A.A.R.I. to Create Gloucester-Style Addiction Initiative
Watertown Police Create Program to Target the Demand for Drugs
WATERTOWN — Police Chief Ray Dupuis, along with Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello, and John Rosenthal, co-founders of The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), are pleased to announce that the Watertown Police Department has partnered with P.A.A.R.I. to implement new addiction recovery initiatives.
“We are inspired by the efforts of the Gloucester Police Department, the Arlington Police Department and the other P.A.A.R.I. agencies,” Chief Dupuis said. “We recognize that the disease of addiction poses a challenge to the overall health and well being of our community and we understand that a humane and compassionate approach to this problem will yield the best results, which is why we are thrilled to be involved in a revolutionary approach to handling this epidemic.”
In 2015 to date, 10 Watertown residents have died from an opioid overdose. Although enforcement of the laws pertaining to drug distribution and trafficking will continue to play a role in the battle against addiction, encouraging those suffering from addiction to seek treatment will be a primary focus of the Watertown Police Department.
Watertown Police recently implemented a Nasal Narcan program and have already successfully used the drug on multiple occasions to save the lives of people who have overdosed on heroin and other opioids.
As part of their recovery initiatives, all members of the police department will be trained on how best to respond to situations involving those suffering from addiction. Collaborating with Advocates’ Jail Diversion Program, Watertown Police recently hired a full-time clinician who will work with officers to get people the help they need.
Through its partnership with P.A.A.R.I., Watertown Police will have access to a large and growing network of drug detox and long-term treatment centers around the nation, which have agreed to support P.A.A.R.I. police partners in helping those in need receive the treatment they need.
The department has also joined the Watertown Access to Treatment Education and Resources (W.A.T.E.R.town) Coalition. It is comprised of many key stakeholders, including elected officials, municipal departments, physicians, residents, individuals in recovery, social service agencies and service providers like Wicked Sober, GRASP and Right Turn. The three primary objectives of the coalition are to:
- Erase the stigma and shame associated with addiction
- Identify resources that may be able to help those suffering from addiction
- Link those in need to the appropriate services.
“The Watertown Police Department is taking the necessary and courageous steps to change the way the community views and treats addiction,” Chief Campanello said. “The Gloucester Police Department and P.A.A.R.I. will continue to work with Chief Dupuis and Watertown Police as the department develops and implements new initiatives to help those struggling with addiction get into treatment and on the path to recovery.”
As part of the W.A.T.E.R.town Coalition’s efforts, the city will declare Oct. 18 through Oct. 25 “Erase the Stigma Week.” During that week, a red ribbon campaign will be organized to show support for those struggling with addiction. Members of church clergy will discuss opioid addiction during their weekly sermons and speakers, theatrical performances and documentaries will target students in the Middle School and High School.
Watertown police are working separately with the school district to establish a substance free club, referred to as Youth Opposed to Using (Y.O.U.), in the High School and Middle School. Members of the club will sign a contract pledging to remain substance free. Participating students will be eligible for discounts at local businesses, access to “members only” celebrations and other incentives.
The department is also looking into implementing a notification system for members of the public, specifically designed to help prevent overdoses in the community. Police have noticed that over long weekends, there are often spikes in overdoses. Working with the health department and using the city’s reverse 911 system, residents who have a friend or loved one struggling with addiction will be able to sign up to receive a notification every time police notice increase in overdoses. The automated call from the health department would serve as a reminder for those on the call list to check on their loved ones to make sure they are doing OK.
“We are pleased to welcome the Watertown Police Department to P.A.A.R.I. to expand our network of partner agencies,” John Rosenthal said. “Together, we will continue to work toward saving lives by placing people into treatment and aiding in their recovery efforts.”
P.A.A.R.I. was started to support local police departments as they work with opioid addicts. Rather than arrest our way out of the problem of drug addiction, P.A.A.R.I. committed police departments:
- Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery
- Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses
- Connect people suffering with opioid addiction with treatment programs and facilities
- Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic
P.A.A.R.I. was created by Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal to bridge the gap between the police department and opioid addicts seeking recovery.