John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
Frederick Ryan, Co-Chairman
186 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Monday, June 11, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Five P.A.A.R.I. Recovery Coaches Join Boston Police Department through AmeriCorps Program
GLOUCESTER — Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade is pleased to announce that five Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) recovery coaches have been sworn in as AmeriCorps members to contribute to the Boston Police Department’s addiction and recovery efforts.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh held an official swearing in of P.A.A.R.I.’s Anita Cunha, Steve Jutras, Tyshaun Perryman, Ursel Hughes and Cheryl Molloy-Emerson as part of the 86th annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors on Sunday, June 10. The ceremony marked Mayor Walsh’s first time swearing in a group of AmeriCorps members.
“I’m grateful for the P.A.A.R.I. recovery coaches, who will work closely with our police officers, to fight the opioid epidemic by enhancing direct outreach and getting more people into treatment and on the road to recovery,” Mayor Walsh said. “All of us have a role to play in addressing the opioid epidemic, and as our first responders are on the front lines of answering the call for help, it’s our responsibility to ensure they are equipped with the tools and resources to best support those in need of care. This partnership with P.A.A.R.I. and AmeriCorps will strengthen our work as we continue to implement solutions that will make a real difference.”
During the meeting, where mayors from around the country were in attendance, the P.A.A.R.I.-AmeriCorps program was highlighted as a best practice. The program places members into service at host police department sites across Massachusetts to assist with municipal police-led addiction and recovery programs in direct response to the growing opioid epidemic.
“The opioid epidemic is the most pressing public health and public safety issue affecting our communities, with an estimated 174 fatal overdoses every single day,” Hunter McDade said during the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “So both at the local and federal level, there is an emphasis on leveraging national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, to address it.”
P.A.A.R.I. currently has a team of 22 members who are serving 53 communities across Massachusetts where they help build the capacity of law enforcement programs, prevent overdose deaths, and provide vital resources to community members with substance use disorders and their loved ones. Since October 2017, the team of P.A.A.R.I-AmeriCorps members have provided support to 3,057 unique individuals affected by a substance use disorder.
P.A.A.R.I. Co-founder John Rosenthal, who attended the ceremony and meeting, stressed the importance of communities implementing a pre-arrest program to assist those struggling with addiction while also working with volunteer organizations like AmeriCorps to provide related services to those in need.
“Thank you Mayor Marty Walsh for making the opioid epidemic a priority and for demonstrating your commitment by highlighting our partnership today,” Rosenthal said Sunday.
With the Boston Police Department, P.A.A.R.I.’s five recovery coaches will:
- Assist individuals struggling with substance use disorders as they make referrals to treatment, navigate and remove barriers to recovery support services, and provide hope, optimism and encouragement.
- Connect community members with substance use disorders, or those who have loved ones struggling with addiction, to recovery services.
- Work across city agencies — like the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, Boston public libraries and the Boston Public Health Commission — as well as treatment providers, hospitals, neighborhood associations and organizations providing related services to assist those affected by opioid addiction.
- Travel to neighborhoods where residents have less access to recovery services. All of the recovery coaches are personally in recovery and have direct experience navigating local treatment and recovery supports.
“We are so proud to partner with P.A.A.R.I. on this innovative, groundbreaking AmeriCorps program,” said Emily Haber, CEO of the Massachusetts Service Alliance, which provides funding to the project. “P.A.A.R.I.-AmeriCorps is a strong model for engaging the power of national service to address the devastating opioid crisis in Massachusetts and across the nation.”
The five P.A.A.R.I AmeriCorps members join more than 1,200 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members combating the opioid epidemic in more than 150 communities across 45 states. This is thanks to support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees these national service programs.