Steve Cornwell, District Attorney
45 Hawley St. # 4,
Binghamton, NY 13901
Leonard Campanello, Co-Founder
John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
One Bridge St., Suite #300
Newton, MA 02458
For Immediate Release
Monday, Feb. 8, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Broome County, N.Y. District Attorney’s Office Joins P.A.A.R.I., Launches Operation S.A.F.E
Broome Becomes First District Attorney’s Office In Country To Initiate Program
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell today announced the District Attorney’s Office has launched Operation S.A.F.E (Save Addicts From Epidemic) to send drug addicts to treatment to save lives and prevent crime. He was joined by Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert, who instituted the program in November.
“Our goal is to save lives by getting those addicted to drugs into treatment, and in doing so, we will clean up our streets,” Cornwell said. “If you’re in treatment, you’re not stealing from family, neighbors or businesses, or committing other crimes.”
Operation S.A.F.E. is modeled after the Gloucester, Mass. Angel Program, through the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), a nonprofit that helps law enforcement agencies adopt Gloucester’s program.
Cornwell worked with Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and P.A.A.R.I. to develop Operation S.A.F.E.
“I am extremely proud to stand with District Attorney Steve Cornwell and all of Broome County as we work together to fight the demand for heroin and other drugs in our community. He is a courageous leader,” said Chief Campanello. “People are more than just addicts. They suffer from a health condition, and they need treatment and compassion, not jail and stigma. I offer Broome County my sincere thanks and congratulations on joining with P.A.A.R.I. as the first District Attorney in the nation to implement this live-saving model.”
Addicts or their family members are encouraged to call Broome County’s S.A.F.E Line at 607-778-6119. A volunteer will then take their information and immediately begin searching the network of quality treatment facilities accepting new patients.
The goals of Operation S.A.F.E. are:
- Reduce future crimes and overdose deaths associated with drug addiction by getting addicts off the streets and into treatment facilities.
- Encourage addicts to seek help from law enforcement without fear of being arrested and prosecuted.
- Connect addicts with treatment facilities that are ready, willing and able to provide treatment, at low or no cost to the addict.
To be eligible for Operation S.A.F.E., addicts must be willing to enter long-term treatment outside of New York. The program will not accept registered sex offenders, those with active arrest warrants, or defendants currently enrolled in Binghamton Drug Treatment Court.
“The drug epidemic in Broome County is a public health crisis and major concern to our public safety. Broome County has waited long enough — addicts and their families are no longer alone in this fight – we are here to help,” added Cornwell. “Thank you to Chief Campanello, P.A.A.R.I, and Chief Covert for their leadership, dedication and foresight. Now it’s time to save local addicts from the drug epidemic plaguing our community.”
During the planning stages of Operation S.A.F.E., Cornwell has already placed one addict in treatment, with another soon on their way.
Cornwell will use drug forfeiture and traffic diversion funding to offset the costs of treatment for those without insurance and transportation to get addicts to treatment facilities.
“This model is working in Cooperstown,” said Chief Covert. “Since we began the program on Thanksgiving Day, we’ve sent dozens of addicts to treatment facilities across the country, at no cost to our Village. Until now, addicts from Broome County and across the region have driven to Cooperstown seeking help. Congratulations to District Attorney Steve Cornwell for taking this major step to save lives.”
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (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 addicts 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.