John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
One Bridge St., Suite #300
Newton, MA 02458
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
P.A.A.R.I. and Over 100 Police Officials Send Letter to White House Regarding Future of ONDCP
Op-Ed Published in Boston Globe on Tuesday
GLOUCESTER — John Rosenthal, Co-founder and Chairman of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), and Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade announce that the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative has sent a letter to Reed Cordish, Assistant to President Donald J. Trump, highlighting the critical importance of the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the nation continues to deal with an opioid epidemic that now claims more lives each year than automobile crashes.
The letter, sent yesterday afternoon, was signed by the board of directors and 117 law enforcement partners (including 68 chiefs of police) representing agencies from coast-to-coast.
“At a time when the national opioid addiction epidemic is crippling our country, killing more people than car crashes or firearms, it is more important than ever for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to continue its effective and vital community-based programs that support law enforcement, reduce crime, and save lives,” the letter begins. “It is critically important that the President honor his pledge to support law enforcement and fight the opioid epidemic and give people struggling with addiction access to the help they need. The decision to defund ONDCP will have life and death consequences, and we believe the voice of law enforcement, those on the front lines of this epidemic, should be genuinely considered.”
P.A.A.R.I. continues to grow as a national movement representing the changing voice of law enforcement’s response to drugs and addiction. More than 250 agencies from 30 states have partnered with the organization.
“This is a critical time as the opioid epidemic continues to take over 90 lives every day across the Country,” Rosenthal said. “Law enforcement is at ground zero, and they are making real progress toward helping people suffering from substance use disorders access treatment without fear of arrest and begin to retake their lives and become productive members of their communities again. It would be a shame to watch support for these efforts falter on the federal side, where it should be strongest.”
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with more than 54,000 overdose deaths reported in 2015. Almost 33,000 of those overdose deaths — more than 90 deaths every day — involved opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers, heroin, or the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.
Since the first months of P.A.A.R.I. and the original Gloucester ANGEL and Outreach initiatives, ONDCP has been supportive of law enforcement dedicating its time, energy, and resources toward treatment and recovery.
As P.A.A.R.I.’s roster of partners show, the opioid and addiction epidemics are not Republican or Democratic issues. Police leaders in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kenucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin have all signed the letter.
Additionally, an op-ed signed by Rosenthal, Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan, and P.A.A.R.I.’s newest board member, former ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske, has been submitted to the Boston Globe for publication Tuesday.
“The collective voice of law enforcement, those on the front lines of this battle, has resulted in sweeping policy change across the country,” Chief Ryan said. “It would be extremely disheartening to the police officers across the country who are trying to save lives to lose their high-level allies in the ONDCP.”
About the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.):
P.A.A.R.I. police departments share a common mission: encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery, help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses, connect those struggling with the disease of addiction with treatment programs and facilities and provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid epidemic.
P.A.A.R.I. is an independent nonprofit organization that supports law enforcement agencies in setting up, communicating and running their own addiction and recovery programs. The police departments, sheriffs offices, prosecutors and treatment centers that have partnered with P.A.A.R.I. interact directly with members of the public and those seeking treatment, recovery, and resources. Learn more at paariusa.org.