Gloucester, Massachusetts is changing their approach to the war on drugs by offering rehabilitation treatment rather than criminalizing those who voluntarily turn themselves in to the Gloucester Police Department.
Furthermore, addicts can turnover their drugs and paraphernalia without any fear of criminal charges. Instead, police officers will offer them rehab right on the spot and treatment will start immediately. Chief Leonard Campenelloannounced the change in plans over the weekend to a warm reception for the idea. Campanello explained the decision by saying, “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.”
The program is being supported throughout the community, two local hospitals are participating by offering expedited care for those who are referred by the police department. Mark Ahn agrees that the change in policy is truly revolutionary and will hopefully give addicts new hope that the police really do care about them and will provide the help they need to get back on track.
If the new program is successful other police departments around the nation will be more likely to design similar projects in their communities in order to address the widespread problem of addiction.