Gloucester's New Addiction Treatment Initiative Has 1st Participant

The Gloucester Police Department says a new program it launched Monday to help get drugs users into treatment has its first participant.

Chief Leonard Campanello announced last month that as part of an effort to deal with the opioid epidemic his department would not charge drug users who surrender their drugs at a local police station and ask for help, instead referring them to treatment options.

In a post on the department's Facebook page, Gloucester police said someone walked into the police station at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday seeking treatment.

"A life has been altered. Trust has begun," the post read.

As WBUR's Deborah Becker reported Monday, someone struggling with addiction who goes into the station seeking help gets assigned a so-called angel -- "a person who would meet them at the nearest hospital owned by Lahey Health and navigate what is often a complicated process."

“We do a short intake with the person who comes to the station,” Chief Campanello explained, “we contact an angel, we transport the person to the hospital where they’re met by the angel, handed off by the officer to the angel, and then Lahey has agreed to fast track the individual toward treatment.”

The department is also partnering with local pharmacies to make the anti-overdose drug Narcan available for free for those who doesn't have insurance.



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