Police Department Updates Drug Policies To Offer Help Instead Of Punishment
Here’s a story of a police department that’s getting it right, making a big move to protect and serve the citizenry. Instead of focusing their drug policies around punishment, they’ve implemented a plan that will help addicts who want to dump the habit.
The decision was made last week, and announced publicly this week on Gloucester, Massachusetts’ police department’s official social media pages.
On Saturday, May 2, the City held a forum regarding the opiate crisis, and on how Gloucester has many resources for help. We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this DISEASE. Your Police Department vowed to take the following measures to assist, beginning June 1, 2015:
The full post can be read here. A shorter summary is below.
- If a person brings any drugs and paraphernalia into the police department and asks for help, he won’t be charged with possession or any related crimes.
- He’ll immediately be assigned an ‘angel’ — a person who helps him through the recovery process.
- Nasal Narcan, a drug to help reverse the effects of opioids, will be made available to those in the program, where appropriate. For those with no insurance, the police department will purchase the drug with funds seized from drug dealers.
The department is also sharing their new policy with federal lawmakers, and asking for policies that help police departments implement similar services, as well as working for a better support system for those who’d like to beat the addiction.
Further, Police Chief Campanello is asking for people to spread the word, and lend their support, so that he can show federal lawmakers how many citizens are behind him.
I have been on both sides of this issue, having spent 7 years as a plainclothes narcotics detective. I have arrested or charged many addicts and dealers. I’ve never arrested a tobacco addict, nor have I ever seen one turned down for help when they develop lung cancer, whether or not they have insurance. The reasons for the difference in care between a tobacco addict and an opiate addict is stigma and money. Petty reasons to lose a life.
If you support this program and would like to see more police departments implement a policy to help rather than punish, please share to spread Chief Campanello’s message, and pass it on to your own representatives.