David E. Harder, Sheriff
Public Safety Facility
155 Lt. VanWinkle Drive
Binghamton, NY 13905
Leonard Campanello, Co-Founder
John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
One Bridge St., Suite #300
Newton, MA 02458
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Broome County, N.Y. Joins with P.A.A.R.I., will Create Addiction Outreach and Referral Program
Non Profits, Police Departments will Refer People to Sheriff for Placement in Treatment Centers Nationwide, Given Lack of Options in Broome and Surrounding Counties
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Sheriff David E. Harder announces that the Broome County Sheriff’s Office will partner with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) to create and launch an addiction outreach and recovery program for Broome County, making it the first law enforcement agency New York State to do so.
Under the Broome County Sheriff’s Office Recovery Commitment (BCSORC), the Sheriff’s Office will work with the nonprofit organization Truth Pharm to develop a program to pair those affected by the disease of addiction and seeking treatment with treatment centers drawn from partners across the country. They have set a goal to develop and implement the program before the end of 2015. An announcement will be made when a launch date is set.
“The opioid addiction epidemic has touched every community in the country, and here in Broome County, we are no different,” Sheriff Harder said. “As public servants, we have an obligation to help people in any way that we can. We are committed to providing immediate service when someone asks for help and lining up treatment centers out of the area who will assist with this endeavor. By joining with P.A.A.R.I., we can help people suffering from addictions reclaim their lives. These people are children, parents, cousins, friends, husbands, and wives, and we are tired of watching opioid addiction take them away from us. Our department has already taken steps to address the issue, but we are not having enough of an impact. Now is the time for action.”
To assist the community in getting started, Bella Monte Recovery Center, which recently partnered with P.A.A.R.I. and The Gloucester Initiative, will be providing scholarships to Broome Country participants.
Broome County municipal police departments will also join, serving as eyes and ears on the ground and referring those suffering from the disease of addiction to the Sheriff’s Office for placement in a treatment center.
“People should not live in fear of their police departments. We are here to help, and when it comes to those suffering from addiction, we are going to prove it,” said Port Dickinson Police Chief Douglas E. Pipher, the first police chief in Broome County to sign on to the initiative. “I am genuinely excited to begin this program, because I have seen how it can make a real difference in people’s lives and the lives of their family members and friends. Opioid addiction is a beatable disease.”
Steps the Broome County Sheriff’s Office had already taken include having all officers carry lifesaving naloxone, having an active role in the Broome Opioid Addiction Council (BOAC) and providing resource cards to those officers feel may be affected by addiction during their daily operations.
While details and specific policies are still being written, there will be four components to the program:
- The Sheriff’s Office will serve as the hub for the program in Broome County. Partners will include other participating law enforcement agencies in Broome County and nonprofit organizations like Truth Pharm. Partner agencies will conduct outreach and refer prospective participants who wish to seek treatment for their addiction.
- The Sheriff’s Office, working with P.A.A.R.I.’s treatment partners and by cultivating its own relationships with local, regional, and national centers, will place participants in treatment programs based on their individual needs.
- The Sheriff’s Office, BOAC and its partners advocate for the creation of an acute care detox facility in Broome County as well as an increase in available treatment options.
- A volunteer system will be developed to assist those seeking help from the Sheriff’s Office.
“Due to the physical and psychological symptoms of opioid addiction, when the small window of opportunity opens in which an addicted person seeks help, it is imperative that we are able to give them that help in a timely, effective manner,” said Susan Hughes, board member of Truth Pharm. “This program enables us to do just that.”
While not identical, the Broome County Sheriff’s Office Recovery Commitment (BCSORC) is inspired by the Gloucester ANGEL Initiative. Gloucester’s Initiative allows people who suffer from addiction to turn over their remaining drug supply and paraphernalia to the Gloucester Police Department without the threat of arrest and then fast-tracks the participant into a treatment center.
Gloucester, Mass. Police Chief Leonard Campanello, one of the founders of P.A.A.R.I., traveled to Binghamton in August and spoke before a large group of more than 120 police officials, healthcare workers, and volunteers. The event was arranged by Truth Pharm, a non-profit organization in Broome County led by mothers of heroin addicts. Chief Campanello spoke about the origins of The ANGEL Initiative
“What I saw in Broome County were moms who lost or nearly lose their children and police officers who are sick of standing by and watching the disease of addiction destroy families and neighborhoods,” Chief Campanello said. “I salute Sheriff Harder and everyone in Broome County that is standing up to take action on this public health issue.”
Added Alexis Pleus, co-founder of Truth Pharm, whose oldest son died of a heroin overdose in 2014: “I am grateful to Chief Campanello for traveling to Binghamton, and I am I am proud to live in Broome County where our Sheriff’s Office is so committed to effecting change in this epidemic that they are willing to blaze the trail in New York State with this progressive program.”
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.