PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Executive Director Allie Hunter is pleased to announce that the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) has partnered with law enforcement agencies in Morris County, New Jersey.
The new partnership brings together P.A.A.R.I., The Morris County Sheriff’s and Prosecutor’s Offices and the Sheriff’s Hope One program. It will ultimately help expand services to those seeking recovery resources in Morris County. Working together, P.A.A.R.I. and Hope One will be positioned to connect individuals proactively seeking treatment for life-threatening substance use disorders with certified peer recovery specialists.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement agency in Morris County to partner with P.A.A.R.I. It is also the only sheriff’s office in New Jersey to adopt P.A.A.R.I.’s model, which relies on close collaboration among police and nonprofit agencies to help ease the barriers to recovery for those seeking help overcoming their battle with opioids.
“We are delighted to be present as the Morris County Sheriff’s Office joins P.A.A.R.I. and launches the Hope One-P.A.A.R.I Program. They are joining a growing movement of nearly 500 law enforcement agencies nationwide that are using non-arrest strategies to address the mounting opioid epidemic,” said Hunter, who attended an event today formally announcing the partnership. “As we have seen with other P.A.A.R.I. initiatives across the country, this program will create a pathways to treatment and recovery, which will ultimately prevent overdose deaths and improve community safety and wellbeing. We are grateful to all the partners involved for the dedication and leadership, and we are thrilled to have the Morris County Sheriff’s Office as partners in this important effort.”
The Hope One-P.A.A.R.I. partnership was made possible through a $332,658 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that was awarded to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office to expand its Hope One mobile substance recovery and resource vehicle program.
Under the initiative, individuals can come to a police station without fear of arrest or prosecution and they will be assisted into a recovery program. Separately, police officers can use their discretion in approaching individuals they encounter on the street to determine whether they are open to meeting with a peer recovery specialist.
“With opioid and heroin addiction consuming the lives of family members, neighbors, classmates and friends, and often leading them to break the law to finance their addictions, we all have a stake as human beings to try to stop the scourge,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said. “Police officers who are familiar with vulnerable populations in their communities are well-suited to start the process of helping people connect with treatment services in a compassionate, non-judgmental style.”
On April 3, about 50 police chiefs and officers from 20 municipal police departments around Morris County participated in four hours of instruction and training for the new P.A.A.R.I. partnership, at Morris County’s Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany, N.J.. Police chiefs and superior officers from the Butler, Mount Olive, Montville, Dover and Morristown Police Departments are part of an advisory group that met in February to plan the P.A.A.R.I. launch.
“The PAARI program helps local law enforcement tremendously because it delivers certified peer recovery specialists out to meet directly with the person who is suffering from addiction, either on the street or right in our municipal police stations. As a result, we can offer real help,” said Butler Police Chief Ciro Chimento.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. We provide technical assistance, coaching, grants, and other capacity-building resources to more than 440 police departments in 32 states.
We currently work with more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. P.A.A.R.I. and our law enforcement partners are working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, thereby reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities.
Our programs and partners have saved thousands of lives, changed police culture and reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic. Learn more at www.paariusa.org.