The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) provides training, strategic guidance, support, and resources to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.
Recognizing that law enforcement has a front row seat to the opioid epidemic and are in a unique position to prevent overdose deaths, in June 2015 the Gloucester Police Department launched the Angel Program, which created a simple, stigma-free entry point to treatment on demand and reframed addiction as a disease, not a crime. PAARI was founded as a nonprofit alongside the Angel Program to help law enforcement agencies create non-arrest programs that prevent and reduce overdose deaths and expand access to treatment and recovery.
Now a national network of nearly 600 police departments in 34 states, PAARI primarily supports non-arrest, or early diversion, program models that reach people before they enter the criminal justice system. Programs are customized based on the community and can utilize multiple law enforcement entry points to treatment, including self-referrals to the station and risk or incident-based outreach. Cross-sector collaboration and partnerships are vital to these programs and they are often supported by clinicians, social workers, recovery coaches, and/or trained volunteers.
Any law enforcement or public safety agency wanting to create or currently has non-arrest pathways to treatment can join PAARI free of cost to access resources such as technical assistance, webinars, convenings, a network of like-minded law enforcement agencies, capacity building and recovery coaches through AmeriCorps, and connection to training resources. To join or request more information and support, please complete the online form.
- To support law enforcement and public safety agencies in designing, launching, and implementing non-arrest addiction referral programs, including strategic guidance, technical assistance, connection to training, policy and procedure templates, and national and regional convenings.
- To foster a dialogue about the unique position of law enforcement to address the opioid and addiction crisis, remove stigma, and reframe the conversation about addiction as a disease not a crime.
- To educate lawmakers and support policies that increase access to lifesaving resources and treatment To build a law enforcement movement and network of like-minded law enforcement agencies to move away from an arrest-first approach and help people take their first steps on the path to recovery.
For decades, municipal police officers have been on the front lines of the war on drugs. Until now, they have been solely called upon to attempt to disrupt an ever-increasing supply chain. That meant police officers often found themselves arresting drug addicts as much, if not more so, than drug dealers and traffickers. In most cases, the addicts were only guilty of possessing an illegal, life-ruining substance and they faced arrest, prosecution and prison terms. In the meantime, heroin and opioid addiction has become a severe public health concern in the United States, destroying and often ending lives.
In 2015, Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Chief Leonard Campanello developed a revolutionary new way to fight the war on drugs by doing something about the demand, not just the supply. Under his plan, drug addicts who ask the police department for help will be immediately taken to a hospital and placed in a recovery program. No arrest. No jail.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the Gloucester Police addiction initiatives, to aid other police departments to implement similar programs, and to foster a dialogue around the unique opportunity for police departments to take direct action against the disease of drug addiction in their communities. Working in conjunction with the medical community and science-based recovery programs, police departments can make a difference in their communities by saving lives from drug overdoses, reducing the number of drug addicts and opioid drug demand, thereby devaluing a seemingly endless drug supply.
We also work to remove the stigma associated with drug addiction, turning the conversation toward the disease of addiction rather than the crime of addiction. We work directly with treatment centers to secure scholarships and fully-funded in-patient programs for addicts while working with police departments, pharmacies, and families to put nasal Narcan into as many hands as possible, recognizing that while it is not a panacea, Narcan can save the life of an overdose patient and give that person another opportunity to get into treatment and fight their disease.