Opiate Epidemic Task Force Announces REAP Program; Law Enforcement Agencies to Participate in Rapid Evaluation for Appropriate Placement Program

Modified: August 1, 2016 1:24pm

Latest News

Archived Press Releases by Year:



 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein

Date August 1, 2016                              

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

Opiate Task Force Announces REAP Program

Law Enforcement Agencies to participate in

Rapid Evaluation for Appropriate Placement Program

ERIE COUNTY, NY— At a press conference earlier, Erie County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein and Erie County Commissioner of Mental Health, Michael Ranney announced that three innovative programs of the Erie County Opiate Task Force became operational today.

The three initiatives are:

  • Erie County Addictions Treatment Hotline
  • Crisis Peer Response Team (“CPRT”)
  • Rapid Evaluation for Appropriate Placement (“REAP”)logo

“The rollout of these programs is a result of many months of planning and an unprecedented amount of collaboration between all of the contributing organizations,” stated Burstein. “The ultimate goal is to help individuals dealing with the disease of addiction access appropriate care.”

Commissioner Ranney commented on the 24/7 Addictions Treatment Hotline: “This new phone number – 831-7007—will provide access to support and available services to those struggling with addiction and their loved ones. In addition, it will play a key role in connecting police agencies participating in the REAP program with immediate direction to assist the individuals presenting at a police station.”

The REAP program is modeled after a similar program begun in May, 2015 by the Gloucester (MA) Police Department Chief, Leonard Campanello. Under REAP, the participating law enforcement agencies will not charge any person struggling with addiction (without an outstanding warrant) if the person presents themselves to the police department, with or without any drugs, and asks for help to get into treatment. The REAP program will operate Monday through Friday, 7am—2pm.


The six currently participating law enforcement agencies are:

  • Amherst         
  • Buffalo
  • East Aurora
  • Erie County Sheriff’s Office
  • Niagara Falls
  • Town of Tonawanda

“Every individual who comes into our police headquarters, regardless of their place of residence and their insurance status, will be helped. In addition, each person looking for help will be assigned an “Angel” to support the person through the intake process until they are referred into a treatment facility, whether that be inpatient or outpatient,” stated Town of Tonawanda Chief of Police, Jerry Uschold.

The CPRT will provide support to individuals struggling with addiction, in particular after an accidental overdose where the opioid antidote, naloxone, has been used. The Peer Response Team brings an in-depth understanding of the treatment system and will assist individuals as they navigate through it.

“The beginning of these new initiatives marks a significant change in the way Erie County addresses the opioid addiction crisis, creating new partnerships and strengthening existing relationships to build a truly community-wide response,” stated County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “We are learning together and growing together as we confront this issue and work to build a stronger, healthier Erie County.”

“Erie County is leading the way by offering these new supports for New York families who are struggling with substance abuse,” said New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (“OASAS”) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “Today, with Governor Cuomo and the Lieutenant Governor's leadership and dedication to combating the opioid public health crisis, we are improving access to substance use disorder care. More New Yorkers will be able to engage in treatment and begin their journey toward recovery.”

#  #  #

For More Information:

Erie County Department of Health

Erie County Department of Mental Health

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance


Crisis Services

Renaissance Addiction Services

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Frequently Requested



Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations