The Gloucester Police Department is taking a large step in combating the opiate epidemic plaguing the seaside city.
As of June 1st, Gloucester Police will not arrest anyone who walks in high on arrival or in possession of needles, other paraphernalia or controlled substances. Instead of treating addicts and users as criminals, they will take steps to help the individual towards detox and recovery. The GPD have teamed up with the Addison Gilbert and Lahey Clinics, who have committed to helping individuals by assigning an “angel” who will sponsor and aid their recovery.
To accompany this new and revolutionary measure, CVS Pharmacies will offer Nasal Narcan without prescription. The opioid blocker has changed the world of opiate treatment by preventing respiratory depression, sedation and hypotension without creating dependency as morphine does.
The GPD will pay for the cost of the nasal spray for those without insurance from money directly confiscated from drug dealers. In the GPD’s Facebook announcement, they said that they “will save lives by with the money from the pockets of those who would take them.”
GPD Chief Leonard Campanello said in their posting that he will travel to Washington D.C. on May 12 to meet with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey along with Congressman Seth Moulton to discuss this new attempt in treating opiate addiction as a disease. He said he will ask elected officials to hold federal agencies, insurance companies and big businesses accountable for building a support system in hopes of maintaining a long term support system for those afflicted by addiction.
“Lives are literally at stake,” Campanello wrote. “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.