BOSTON — The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) held its National Law Enforcement Summit at Boston University on November 14-15.
PAARI joined forces with 180 law enforcement and public health partners from 22 states across the country for the organization’s first summit since 2019.
Attendees met in Boston this week to report on their successes in preventing drug overdose deaths and increasing access to treatment through non-arrest programs for individuals who are addicted to drugs.
The summit kicked off with an overview of the disease of addiction from Sarah Wakeman, MD, Director for Substance Use Disorder at Mass General Brigham. She reported research showing that over 80% of people with opioid use disorder achieve remission by 18 months when they receive treatment. Expanding access to evidence-based treatment is a major objective of many of the public safety-public health partnerships that PAARI partners support.
Throughout the event, presenters from states such as Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania, showed best practices from their programs including presenting on non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery, overdose follow-up, harm reduction, and access to evidence-based care. The summit ended with a presentation about the Opioid Settlement Funds by Catherine Madden, project manager of the Massachusetts Opiate Task Force, Deirdre Calvert, director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance and Addiction Services Department of Public Health and Eveline Van Beek, a principal of KPMG. A full agenda with the speakers is here.
“One of our main goals with the National Law Enforcement Summit is to positively affect how institutions view those with substance use disorder,” said John Rosenthal, PAARI Co-Founder and Chair. “By bringing together health professionals, law enforcement agencies and those in recovery themselves, we hope to promote change in public policy that will in turn, create good public outcomes.”
“The summit that PAARI puts on is unlike anything that we see throughout the year,” said Deputy Police Chief William Bonney, Waterville PD. “Being able to connect with like-minded law enforcement agencies is priceless. We all have something to learn from one another on how to best treat addiction in our respective communities and I’m proud to be a part of this community.”
“The programs described at this week’s summit demonstrate that public safety-public health partnerships are essential to preventing drug overdose deaths and expanding access to medication treatment and long term recovery for people in our communities with substance use disorders,” said Dr. David Rosenbloom, PAARI Co-Founder and Professor at Boston University School of Public Health.
“This event is a culmination of all of the hard work we put into this organization throughout the year,” said Zoe Grover-Scicchitano, PAARI Executive Director. “We are honored to be able to give a platform to both public safety and public health professionals to share the latest developments in SUD, recovery, and non-arrest programming. We hope that attendees can take what they learned from the last two days, and continue to create real change in their communities. We are always here to help.”
Videos from the summit coming soon!
Link to presentations and fact-sheets by speakers Click Here.
Written by Isabella Nowak
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, strategic guidance, connection to training resources, 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.