From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date November 9, 2015
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Innovative Opioid Addiction Program
Local Law Enforcement & Treatment Personnel
Hear Details of “PAARI” from Leonard Campanello, Gloucester (MA) Chief of Police
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Over 125 members of local law enforcement and addiction treatment professionals gathered at the Erie County Central Police Services Training Academy at the Erie Community College North Campus today to learn more about Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, or “PAARI”.
Chief Leonard Campanello from the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department is a co-founder of PAARI and was the featured speaker at today’s seminar. In May of 2015, after a scourge of opioid overdoses in the City of Gloucester, Chief Campanello announced a new plan to treat opioid addiction. Under this initiative, the Gloucester Police Department would not charge any person afflicted with the disease of addiction if the person presented themselves to the police department, with or without any drugs, and asked for help to get into treatment.
The police promised to help every individual who came into the station, regardless of their city of residence and their insurance status. In addition, each person looking for help would be assigned an “Angel” who would sit with the person through the intake process until they are referred into an acute or long-term treatment facility. The program was immediately successful. Since its start, on average one person a day, suffering from addiction, comes into the Gloucester Police Department looking for help.
The PAARI organization seeks to:
- To aid other police departments to implement similar programs
- To foster a dialogue around the unique opportunity for police departments to take direct action against the disease of drug addiction in their communities
- To help change state and national policy around opioid addiction treatment
- To directly assist persons with addiction who are in recovery through this program with educational incentives, housing assistance, job placement and child care
“We greatly appreciate Chief Campanello traveling to Buffalo to share an overview of the PAARI project,” said Daniel F. Rinaldo, Drug Intelligence Officer, New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (“HIDTA”). “We cannot solve the opioid addiction crisis by incarcerating individuals with the disease of addiction.”
Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health added: “I am very pleased to see participation at today’s event from law enforcement officials from throughout Erie County, as well as several addiction treatment providers. We cannot stand still while deaths from fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise at an accelerating rate. As we all know, this is a community-wide crisis that can only be successfully addressed by a community-wide approach and coalition between all the organizations involved.”
Chief Leonard Campanello will be available for interviews
between 2:30-3:00 pm on Monday, November 9, 2015.
Erie County Central Police Services Law Enforcement Training Academy
ECC North Campus
6205 Main Street, Auditorium (Room 602)
Williamsville, NY 14221
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