A new in-depth feature in Yankee Magazine delves into how the national opioid crisis is having an especially acute effect on New England, and explores the work being done by P.A.A.R.I, the Gloucester Police Department and others to curtail the epidemic.
The story looks beyond the numbers, focusing on the people on the front lines of the fight against addiction — first responders, those battling substance abuse disorders and the organization whose mission it is to get people the help they need.
The Angel Initiative launched the following month, and its immediate success put a spotlight on the need to increase access to treatment. Within its first six months, Angel placed 391 people into recovery. Today it works under the Gloucester-based Police-Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), which builds and supports Angel programs across the country. To date, the Gloucester approach has been implemented at 414 police departments across 32 states, from the Northeast to the deep South.
“Your mind-set, being a policeman, was always to arrest for drugs,” current police chief John McCarthy, a Gloucester native who joined the force in 1980 at age 21, told me. “I’m old-school, and that was always the philosophy. [But as Chief Campanello would say] ‘you can’t arrest yourself out of this problem.’ We fought the war on drugs for decades and decades and didn’t win.”
To read the article in full, click here.