A national effort to redefine local police departments' response to illegal drug use in their communities has surpassed the 100-department mark in participation.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) announced May 10 that, less than a year after its inception, it now encompasses 106 police departments in 24 states. Participating departments emphasize linking users to treatment rather than opting for traditional enforcement tactics. The national initiative, co-founded by Gloucester, Mass., Police Chief Leonard Campanello, seeks treatment center partners that wish to make treatment slots available for individuals identified through the local law enforcement effort.
Campanello said in a news release that “because law enforcement is on the front lines of so many issues, it is our responsibility to intervene when we can, before further harm is done, before arrest even, if we can. The fact that so many law enforcement officials from around the country agree is shifting the way in which we engage with our respective communities.”