CORPUS CHRISTI, TX January 17, 2023 – The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) partnered with Nueces County Hospital District over the past year to train and distribute Narcan to law enforcement and civilians embedded in police departments in Nueces County, Texas. In total, over 250 individuals were trained on how to use Narcan and equipped with the potentially life-saving medication designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Out of the 250 trainees, 25 of those were additionally trained in an intensive course on deflection and diversion, teaching how to create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Among those trained were individuals from Nueces County Constables Precincts 2 & 5, Corpus Christi Police Department, The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coastal Bend, Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health Department, Cenikor, Nueces County Commissioner’s Office, Corpus Christi Independent School District Police Department, Nueces County and Nueces Center for Mental Health & Intellectual Disabilities.
“Deflection is smart policing,” says Brittney Garrett, Director of Outreach and Training at PAARI. “Our mission is to support law enforcement and public safety agencies in implementing non-arrest pathways to help those with substance use disorder take their first steps to recovery.”
“We believe that the partnership of public health and public safety officials is imperative to addressing the opioid and addiction crisis,” says Dr. Xavier Gonzales of Nueces County Hospital District. “When we work together, we can allow for more effective implementation of lifesaving resources and treatment programs.”
Prior to completing the Narcan training, 60% of law enforcement officers surveyed said that they had previously arrived on the scene of an overdose. However, only 39% of those that responded to the scene carried Narcan. After the completion of the training, 100% of officers surveyed said that they would feel comfortable administering Narcan, can identify warning signs of an overdose, and now plan to carry the life-saving medication while on duty.
“We are excited to continue to build our diversion and deflection models in Corpus Christi,” says Mark Schauer, Asst. Chief of Police at Corpus Christi Police Department. “As public safety officials, we must do everything in our power to prevent and reduce overdose deaths in our community.”
“This type of training was incredibly helpful for my staff,” says Jason McCahan, Constable of Nueces County Precinct 2. “They left feeling more educated, energized, and ready to take on this important lifesaving work.”
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.