Newburyport Police Department Joins P.A.A.R.I., Begins Addiction Recovery Initiative

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 781-791-7627

Newburyport Police Department Joins P.A.A.R.I., Begins Addiction Recovery Initiative

NEWBURYPORT —  City Marshal Mark Murray is pleased to announce that the Newburyport Police Department has partnered with The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) to expand the department’s addiction recovery initiative, the Newburyport Support & Treatment for Opiate Misuse & Prevention Strategies (STOMPS), which began this month.

In Newburyport alone, there were five confirmed heroin overdose deaths in 2014 and two in 2015. As part of the Newburyport Police Department’s plan to address opioid addiction in the city, police modeled the STOMPS program after the Gloucester ANGEL Program, which launched last year and has placed more than 400 people in recovery programs.

Residents who are struggling with the disease of addiction, and are looking to get help, are encouraged to come to the Newburyport Police station, turn over their drugs and paraphernalia and ask for assistance. Those who come in will be treated with respect and will not be arrested or charged with a crime. However, if a participant has outstanding arrest warrants, those will have to be cleared up, and the Newburyport Police Department can assist participants with going through that process in a dignified manner.

March is also Addiction Prevention and Awareness month in Newburyport. The Newburyport Public Schools, Newburyport Youth Services and the YWCA Greater Newburyport will be hosting events and activities surrounding opioid addiction awareness and prevention. All offerings are free and open to the public. Residents are invited to attend an open house at the police station, where officers and representatives from Atlantic Ambulance will provide information and training on the proper use of Narcan and will be available to answer any questions. The event will be held on Saturday, March, 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Newburyport STOMPS will continue to evolve and offer training and support to the community for both addicts and families. Police will devote open forums on the Newburyport STOMPS Facebook page for community comments, questions and concerns. Additionally, resources for emergency services, family support services, peer support for addicts, detox facilities and more will be available.

“As we implement this program in our community, we welcome feedback and ideas from our residents,” Marshal Murray said. “We recognize that the disease of addiction needs to be addressed through other means other than simply arresting people. Through our partnership with P.A.A.R.I., we are committed to helping citizens recover, while working to end the stigma associated addiction.”

Police, along with Atlantic Ambulance, will provide information and training on the proper use of Narcan and are working with local pharmacies to obtain nasal Narcan doses to distribute to members of the community upon completion of proper training.

The STOMPS program will also be working closely with the Newburyport Public Schools to obtain various guest speakers who have struggled with and overcome addiction, to set up forums that focus on warning signs and symptoms for parents to look for in their children, and to implement other helpful programs.

“No community is immune to the opioid addiction outbreak, and we must do our part in Newburyport to ensure that people have as many tools and resources as possible to take back their lives,” said Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday. “I am proud to support the STOMPS program and the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative. Our police officers do amazing work every day, and this program will doubtlessly save lives in our city.”

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal, co-founders of P.A.A.R.I. are pleased to welcome Marshal Murray and the Newburyport Police Department to the organization and to assist the community with its addiction recovery initiatives.

About P.A.A.R.I.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) was launched to support police departments around the nation as they work to help those suffering from the disease of addiction. The United States faces a nationwide heroin and opioid epidemic, with more people now dying from overdoses than from car accidents in this country. 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 those struggling with the disease of addiction to 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 police departments and those struggling with the disease of addiction.