In July 2015, the Arlington, Mass. Police Department and Chief Frederick Ryan outlined a new strategy for police officers to get directly involved in the demand side of the heroin and opiate crisis by working with a public health clinician to conduct direct outreach to the known addict community and their families, friends, and caregivers.
The Arlington Police Department is committed to aggressively enforcing the drug laws, especially when it comes to investigating and arresting drug dealers and drug traffickers. However, once a drug dealer is arrested, police are often left with their list of customers.
These lists are literally collections of people, often Arlington residents, who are living in the grip of addiction.
A public health clinician will be embedded with the Arlington Police Department, and together, they will reach out to these people and their families. The goal of the Initiative is to educate families, help provide and teach the administration of potentially lifesaving Nasal Narcan, and to make addicts and their families, friends, and caregivers aware of treatment options and resources available to them.
“In the past, we would not do anything with the information we learned about the customers of drug dealers, and the addicts would simply find a new dealer for their next fix,” Chief Ryan said. “The time for inaction is over.”