Twenty-five members of the public service organization AmeriCorps have been enlisted to assist local police in Massachusetts in their treatment-focused responses to the opioid crisis.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) last week announced the program, supported by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National and Community Service, to assist in municipal police departments' efforts to prevent overdose deaths and enhance treatment opportunities.
“This program model reflects what AmeriCorps was set out to do when established 23 years ago—to train, empower and set forth individuals who want to solve problems and make our communities healthier and stronger,” Massachusetts Service Alliance CEO Emily Haber said in a news release.
In the Massachusetts community of Lynn, which as of late October had matched its 2016 total of 50 fatal drug overdoses, a recovery coach provided by P.A.A.R.I. and AmeriCorps will be part of a behavioral health outreach team that also includes a substance use clinician and a jail diversion clinician.
P.A.A.R.I. also announced last week that AmeriCorps program veteran Liz Barnes will direct the P.A.A.R.I. AmeriCorps program, overseeing functions such as member supervision and grant management.