The Gloucester, Mass.-initiated effort toward a more compassionate law enforcement approach to the opioid crisis continues to gain momentum, with the Cooperstown, N.Y., Police Department becoming the latest police agency to announce it will seek to refer addicts to treatment.
According to a Nov. 23 news release from the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), the Cooperstown department is working with Bassett Medical Center in the local community to assist in assessing individuals who may be in need of treatment. As with the P.A.A.R.I. efforts in Gloucester and elsewhere, Cooperstown residents will be able to avoid drug charges by visiting the police station, turning in their drugs and related equipment, and asking for treatment.
In addition, Cooperstown Police Chief Michael Covert is advocating that New York join a dozen other states in which a nasal formulation of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) is being made available to individuals without a prescription. Covert also would like to create an instructional video for residents on overdose emergency response.
“We have seen the success of the Gloucester Police Department's program and the resulting initiatives and want to do everything we can so we may see similar success in our own community,” said Covert.
A number of addiction treatment centers have partnered with P.A.A.R.I. to serve individuals identified through this law enforcement agency initiative.