White House to Honor Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello as “Champion of Change”

Gloucester Police Department press release

Gloucester Police Department
Leonard Campanello, Chief of Police
197 Main St.
Gloucester , MA 01930

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 22, 2016

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003

White House to Honor Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello as “Champion of Change” April 29

Addiction Efforts Recognized by President Barack Obama

GLOUCESTER — Police Chief Leonard Campanello, who last year launched the revolutionary ANGEL Initiative to combat drug addiction, will be recognized by the administration of President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House next week.

Chief Campanello has been named a “Champion of Change” by the White House, as part of a program created to recognize the efforts of individuals doing extraordinary things to empower or inspire their communities. This year, 920 people nationwide were nominated for the honor, and Chief Campanello was named one of 10 Champions of Change.

Chief Campanello launched the ANGEL Initiative in the spring of 2015 and soon partnered with businessman John Rosenthal to create the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) which has helped launch similar programs in nearly 100 police departments in 22 states.

“The focus of the Gloucester Initiative and P.A.A.R.I. has never been on recognition or awards for what we consider our responsibility at the Gloucester Police Department. This is a monumental honor that is very legitimizing for the efforts being made by law enforcement to take a stand against the disease of addiction,” Chief Campanello said. “To have the President of the United States and the White House recognize Gloucester for taking a small role in combating addiction through de-stigmatization, awareness, humanity and treatment, is a testament to the City, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, and our residents, whom I am so proud and humbled to serve. This is a very proud moment to be a part of the Gloucester Community.”

The White House described the Chief’s award thusly: “Chief Campanello has worked to end the stigma of addiction by adding law enforcement’s voice to those suffering with substance use disorders. In May of 2015, in response to the growing epidemic of opioid use disorders, he announced policy change that those with substance use disorders could ask for help and seek treatment by walking into the station, with or without drugs, and without being charged with a crime. The policy also provided free naloxone (an opioid overdose antidote) for anyone in need. In the 10 months since it began, the Gloucester Program has brought 425 people directly to treatment with no criminal penalty and no solicitation of information, and has reduced crime and costs associated with addiction in Gloucester and rebuilt trust between the police and the community. The policy’s success led to the creation of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, which facilitates the proliferation of the Gloucester Program to over 100 communities in 22 states and partnerships with 250 treatment centers and growing.”

The event will feature remarks by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli. The event will also feature members of the cast and production team of the Warner Bros. Television-produced CBS comedy series Mom‎.

There ceremony will include U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli, and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

“Chief Campanello’s compassionate leadership has helped thousands in Massachusetts’ North Shore,” said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. “His work is a model for our police stations and neighborhoods. We look forward to honoring Leonard as a Champion of Change.”

The chief was nominated for the award by the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which provides funding resources, facilitates and enhances coordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in designated areas across New England, enabling them to combine and leverage resources and capabilities to carry out activities to address the specific drug threats of those areas. While typically focused on enforcement and supply disruption, the HIDTA program has recognized the demand side of drug addiction as a critical piece of the puzzle.

“New England HIDTA recognizes that law enforcement alone is not a solution to the region’s drug abuse problems. By reducing the demand for drugs, countless lives can be spared the misery of drug abuse, and millions of tax dollars can be saved, by preventing drug use before it starts,” the organization, made up of dozens of law enforcement agencies, states on its website.

From the White House:

This year, the individuals were selected by the White House for their leadership and tireless work to prevent prescription drug abuse and heroin use, improve access to treatment and support recovery.

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs. More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes. The President has made clear that addressing the opioid overdose epidemic is a priority for his Administration and has highlighted tools that are effective in reducing drug use and overdose, like evidence-based prevention programs, prescription drug monitoring, prescription drug take-back events, medication-assisted treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be open press and streamed live on To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit Follow the conversation at #WHchamps.

WHEN:          Friday, April 29, 2016 at 1:00 PM ET

WHERE:        Eisenhower Executive Office Building, South Court Auditorium

MEDIA REGISTRATION: This event will be open press, but space is limited. Members of the media who wish to cover this event must RSVP via the following link by 12:00PM ETThursday, April 28

Press not holding White House hard passes must also fill out the following form by the deadline for access to the White House complex:

Original Nomination:

Nominated by: New England HIDTA

“The abuse of heroin has been a persistent threat to the New England region, in both metropolitan and rural communities. In 2014, according to the then governor, the number of unintentional opioid overdoses increased 90 percent between 2000 and 2012. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the number of opiate-related deaths in Massachusetts was over 1,200 in 2014, an increase of 34% from the prior year. The epidemic has created burden and cause for concern in a number of sectors, both private and public. Healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies, addiction treatment centers, and non-profit entities have spearheaded initiatives at local and national levels in an effort to secure a foothold on this unsettling situation.

In 2014, the City of Gloucester, America’s original seaport with a population of approximately 29,000, 77 people were revived by naloxone and 11 died from overdoses. In only the first six months of 2015, 62 people were reversed from an opiate overdose and 6 have died. One leader in the law enforcement community has taken a head on, proactive approach for helping those with an opioid addiction take an alternate route to finding help. Gloucester, MA Police Chief Leonard Campanello established the Gloucester Addiction Initiative, also known as the Angel Program.

In June 2015 Chief Campanello decided that it was time to stop arresting addicts and start helping them instead. Gloucester Addiction Initiative works with several local treatment centers and clinics. When an addict walks into the police station and asks for help getting into a rehab facility, the department couples that person with an “angel”, a volunteer that helps guide the individual through the process. The addict is evaluated, their needs are assessed and they are fast tracked into a local detox program.

Seven addicts were sent to detox programs through the Gloucester Addiction Initiative in the first seven days of the program. In the first 10 weeks of the initiative, they sent over 100 addicts to detox programs. Most recent figures suggest that more than 260 addicts have been treated since June 1st. Additionally, the City of Gloucester has experienced a 23 percent drop in quality of life crimes.

Simultaneously, Chief Campanello co-founded the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI). PAARI is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the Gloucester Police Addiction Initiative, to aid other police departments to implement similar programs, and to foster a dialogue around the unique opportunity for police departments to take direct action against the disease of drug addiction in their communities. To date, the PAARI has partnered with approximately 100 law enforcement agencies, associations and treatment centers from across the country.

Chief Campanello has also partnered with local pharmacies to offer Narcan without a prescription, at little to no cost. Campanello has earmarked funds seized from drug dealers, to cover the cost of nasal Narcan for those without insurance. It’s important to the Chief that family and friends of a known addict also have access to the life-saving drug.

Chief Campanello took to social media to spread the word about the new programs. On the Department’s Facebook page the Chief’s first post was “liked” more than 33,000 times, and shared more than 30,000 times. His program has quickly inspired other law enforcement agencies to initiate similar programs within their own agencies. The Chief’s actions have turned heads across the State of Massachusetts, across the country, and across the aisle in Washington DC.

The proactive and pioneering efforts of Chief Campanello serve as a national model for law enforcement, support and recovery programs. It is with great pride and admiration New England HIDTA nominates Chief Leonard Campanello as a Champion of Change.”