FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Danvers Police Department announced today that it has officially partnered with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and help get drug addicts on the road to recovery.
According to Danvers Police Chief Patrick Ambrose, “We recognize that opioid addiction affects everyone and that addicts are not alone in this fight. We believe that this addiction is a disease and it impacts families, neighbors and the community of Danvers.”
PAARI is a nonprofit organization assisting police departments by offering training, support, and connections to treatment and recovery options. PAARI works with various sectors, including the healthcare community, to create pathways to evidence based recovery programs to reduce opioid overdoses. Among its many efforts, PAARI collaborates with public safety agencies in outreach. The goal is to encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery and connect addicts with drug treatment facilities. Recently, PAARI had their inaugural National Law Enforcement Summit at the Boston University School of Medicine. The Danvers Police Department joined PAARI staff there to learn the latest strategies in combatting addiction, effective outreach initiatives and how the medical community is evolving with new addiction treatment protocols.
The Danvers Police Department joins over 320 law enforcement agencies across 31 states as a PAARI partner. “The Danvers Police Department is committed to serving all of our populations. We are committed to more outreach with the hope of impacting addiction. Currently, we have twenty-three (23) officers trained as Critical Incident Team (CIT) officers serving at risk populations and this new partnership is another tool in our toolbox.” said Chief Ambrose. PAARI continues to provide critical new entry points into treatment, save lives, build trust in local communities and provide new avenues to assist those suffering with addiction.
PAARI Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade has embedded a Recovery Coach at the Danvers Police Department. On February 2, 2018, Steve Lesnikoski will begin his outreach to assist the department. Steve will work at the police station on Fridays and hopes to build relationships in the community. Added Hunter McDade: “This project empowers P.A.A.R.I. and all of Essex County to make real changes today in how we fight the opioid epidemic. This grant allows us to increase our staff and provide direct benefits to police departments that are placing themselves at the front lines in the fight against opioid addiction.” Through this additional staff and coordination, P.A.A.R.I. will work with law enforcement agencies to prevent opioid overdose deaths, engage more residents in effective treatment and recovery from substance use disorders, and improve hospital, police, and community collaborations.
An important step to recovery is to be able to connect individuals battling substance use issues with treatment as soon as possible after they decide to seek help. They also recognize that overcoming addiction can take a very long time – and several tries. Chief Ambrose believes that this social outreach and relationship building, along with criminal enforcement when necessary, is a comprehensive approach in dealing with the opioid crisis. The PAARI partnership is the next phase of that effort.