PLYMOUTH — The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative is pleased to share that the Plymouth County HUB convened a gathering of law enforcement, public health and other county stakeholders to promote networking and sharing of ideas last week.
On Wednesday. Sept. 28, representatives of the Plymouth County HUB and PAARI gathered in Plymouth to network and celebrate the success of the HUB initiative in Plymouth County.
Those in attendance included PAARI leadership, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz, State Rep. Alyson Sullivan, Mike Botieri from Operation 2 Save Lives (O2SL) & QRT National, as well as representatives from the county’s 27 police departments and public health partners, and other stakeholders.
Plymouth County HUB was the nation’s first county-wide model to build a collaborative group of providers and law enforcement that addresses many risk factors, including substance use and behavioral health concerns, when it was created in 2020 by a collaboration of PAARI, Plymouth County Outreach, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, with grant funding from South Shore Health.
Plymouth County HUB Manager Charlette Tarsi highlighted the success of the initiative, sharing that there are 258 current participants from 121 organizations and departments across the county and beyond. There have been 316 situations, or 316 individuals and families throughout the county that have been brought to the attention of member agencies, and 203 situations resolved and their Acutely Elevated Risk reduced. In addition, 151 individuals or families have been presented to the HUB by police departments.
PAARI’s Director of Public Safety Training & Outreach Brittney Garrett introduced Mike Botieri, former chief of the Plymouth Police Department, who helped to create Plymouth County Outreach (PCO), implement four HUBs in Plymouth County, and was a founding member of the PAARI National Police Council.
Botieri reflected on the start of Plymouth County’s initiative to help those living with substance use disorder back in 2015 through a county-wide opioid task force.
“At those task force meetings, we learned that we had subject matter experts in all the fields, and we learned that this was a disease and that the stigma was so strong,” he said. “People don’t know where to go. They’re afraid to come forward, and family members are afraid to come forward because their loved ones are using illicit drugs. They don’t know where the help is. We realized that we had to bring it to them. We also learned that it had to be in a timely fashion and in the critical intervention time period of 24-48 hours [after an individual overdosed].”
Strong partnerships with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth helped the program identify who needed help, however, it was necessary for an individual to overdose for the county program to know they needed help. This led to the creation of a system where an at-risk person or their family could come forward for help before they experienced an overdose.
“The HUB Situation Table is really the 2.0 version of that. You don’t need to overdose or be in crisis for us to help you,” Botieri said.
The HUB looks at a multitude of different risk factors to address situations where individuals and/or families are at Acutely Elevated Risk. The Situation Table and service providers can then intervene and offer services before a crisis occurs.
Botieri is now with O2SL & QRT National providing community-based integrated solutions for behavioral health problems across the country. O2SL & QRT National, in partnership with PAARI, has now brought HUB Situational Table training to approximately a dozen different states.
An important aspect of the HUB Situation Table is that it is rooted in collaboration and knowledge sharing. District Attorney Cruz spoke of the importance of teamwork during his remarks, saying: “No one agency is going to make a difference, no one agency is going to do things on their own, and I think it’s incredibly important that we don’t be concerned with who gets credit for what. What’s really important is how can you help the people in your community be as safe as possible.”
Rep. Sullivan lauded the successful, working system already in place in Plymouth County, and spoke about the recently-enacted Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health, noting that a lot of aspects of the legislation are already in place in the county: “We see it firsthand with the workings of the DA’s Office, our police chiefs, our communities, our liaisons and our coalitions. To be able to have that support system here is really important.”
She went on to discuss the rise in calls from people in need of resources during the pandemic and the expected positive impacts of the new 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number in getting people the necessary help and resources in times of crisis.
Finally, the first-ever HUB Spotlight Award was presented to Pembroke Deputy Police Chief Wendy LaPierre. The award recognizes a participating member who exemplifies the spirit of the HUB Situation Table Model by bringing situations that require multiple agencies to work together in order to stabilize and support the lives of individuals and families in the community of Plymouth County.
Deputy Chief LaPierre was recognized for her dedication to the Plymouth County HUB by rarely missing a meeting, presenting numerous situations from her community, and her collaborative work with local community health and resource organizations.
She spoke of the success the Pembroke Police Department has seen as a member of the Plymouth County HUB, and the value it provides for both the community and officers.
“Prior to the inception of the HUB, most officers were not aware of the resources available for people experiencing turmoil. People were typically sent to the hospital, arrested or left to figure out their non-criminal problems on their own,” she said. “Being a part of the HUB provides officers with answers and guidance to better serve our community.”
She added, “The HUB has been extremely beneficial to the Pembroke Police Department because it gives officers resources to help support individuals that may not be able to help themselves. Officers know that they can refer individuals to the HUB and these individuals will be linked with resources within our county so they can receive immediate assistance.”
About Plymouth County HUB:
Plymouth County HUB was the nation’s first county-wide model for providing treatment and behavioral health services when it was created in 2020 through a collaboration of PAARI, Plymouth County Outreach, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, with grant funding from South Shore Health.
The HUB uses data and input from stakeholders around the county to identify those most at risk due to 24 different risk factors. The HUB then focuses on situations where individuals and families face multiple areas of high risk. Risk factors monitored by the HUB include mental health, substance use disorder, housing insecurity, food insecurity, criminal involvement and more. A full list of risk factors evaluated by the HUB can be found here.
Those identified as having multiple risk factors are identified as situations for privacy purposes, and any law enforcement officer or provider can attend a weekly HUB meeting to bring situations to the HUB’s attention, prompting outreach efforts. The HUB recently identified the 300th situation in Plymouth County, and has connected a majority of those individuals to resources and support.
For more information on the Plymouth County Hub, visit: https://www.plymouthcountyhub.com/.
Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by grant number 1H79TI083343 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) 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, Mass., Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, PAARI 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 700 police departments in 40 states.
PAARI works with more than 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. PAARI 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 tens of thousands of lives, changed police culture, reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic, and have placed more than 30,000 people into treatment since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at paariusa.org.