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Police leaders issue 10-point plan for opioid crisis response

June 7, 2018
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A meeting of police chiefs, policymakers and academic leaders last month has led to the development of 10 best practices for police departments in responding to the opioid crisis.

A publication out of Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health also highlights the leadership of local police departments in Arlington, Mass., Burlington, Vt., and Morgantown, W.Va., in redefining how some in law enforcement are addressing opioid overdose and addiction.

“We did not ask for this responsibility, and we must open our minds to new, research-backed methods,” Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan said in a statement upon release of the publication last week. “The opioid crisis is, itself, the evolution of a longstanding drug addiction and mental health problem in our society, and those of us in the law enforcement community must evolve our methods to tackle it.”

The 10 standards of care, which grew out of the May 3-4 meeting at the Police Executive Research Forum, call on law enforcement agencies to:

  • Work with public health agencies toward the goal of reducing overdose deaths.

  • Equip and train officers around the use of naloxone.

  • Support public education to reduce stigma, and make addiction education part of officer training as well.

  • Train officers to help people access treatment that offers all of the approved medications for opioid dependence.

  • Advocate on-demand access to addiction treatment in their communities.

  • Advocate access to medication-assisted treatment for incarcerated individuals and those under community supervision.

  • Collaborate with local agencies that offer syringe service programs to prevent infectious disease transmission.

  • Explore efforts to help individuals detect the presence of fentanyl in drugs.

  • Work with community partners to explore the evidence around supervised consumption spaces as a public health strategy.

  • Support consistent implementation of Good Samaritan laws that are designed to protect individuals who help an overdose victim.



The Summits for Clinical Excellence bring together thought leaders on cutting-edge topics in multi-day national and regional conferences. Summits on mindfulness, trauma, process addiction, and shame appeal particularly to private practice behavioral healthcare professionals. Other Summits address the national opioid crisis from a regional perspective and engage a diverse group of stakeholders.

June 25-26, 2018 Pittsburgh — The Opioid Crisis: The Clinician's Role and Treatment Practices