Special to the Transcript
Chief Terence Delehanty is pleased to share that the Winthrop Police Department is participating in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative’s (P.A.A.R.I.) One2One: Engagement to Recovery Initiative.
Piloted in the spring and summer of 2020, the One2One: Engagement to Recovery initiative empowers police officers and community partners to distribute fentanyl test strip (FTS) kits to those in need, as well as provide referrals to treatment and information about other resources available to those who use drugs and their loved ones. One2One is a pilot-tested, evidence-based, police-led intervention project across Massachusetts and Maine which seeks to increase engagement in substance use related services and supports among people using stimulants and opioids who are at risk of fatal overdose.
The initiative is the result of a partnership between P.A.A.R.I. and Brandeis University, and Winthrop Police joined departments from Maine and Massachusetts to begin the program on Friday, Feb. 26.
“Our department is committed to doing everything we can to prevent overdoses and help those struggling with drug use, as well as their loved ones, to ensure those who need help are connected to the resources and supports available in our community,” Chief Delehanty said. “This program is a tremendous asset as we continue to work to combat the opioid epidemic, and we’re deeply appreciative of the guidance, education and materials P.A.A.R.I. is connecting us to through this effort.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 more than 36,000 people died from overdoses including synthetic opioids.
Nearly half of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S are associated with illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which is now used alone and found in heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and counterfeit opioid pills. New England is particularly hard-hit by illicit fentanyl, which is highly potent and thus prone to cause accidental overdose. Research has shown that FTS is a feasible, useful tool linked to increased self-efficacy and important safety and drug use behavior changes.
Through the One2One program, P.A.A.R.I. will provide training for officers and community partners on how to distribute the FTS kits as well as the kits themselves. P.A.A.R.I. will also provide training on how to offer referrals, share information about relevant services, and provide other selected tools to kit recipients.
The Winthrop Police Department is also directly involved in the Winthrop multidisciplinary C.L.E.A.R. Team formed in 2014 to reduce and prevent overdoses in the community. The team continues to evolve and is currently comprised of public safety and public health personnel who use police data to find and help people struggling with mental health, substance use and domestic violence challenges.
If you or a loved one is in need of assistance, or if you’d like to request a kit with three fentanyl test strips, which can be mailed, dropped off, or picked up at the station, please contact Lt. Sarko Gergerian at 617.846.1852 X 1062 and/ or [email protected].
Members of the community are also reminded to always call 911 in an emergency.
For information about the One2One program, visit paariusa.org/one2one.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester, Mass. Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. P.A.A.R.I. provides technical assistance, coaching, grants, and other capacity-building resources to more than 600 police departments in 35 states. P.A.A.R.I. currently works with more than 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. P.A.A.R.I. and our law enforcement partners are working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, thereby reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities. P.A.A.R.I.’s programs and partners have saved thousands of lives, changed police culture, reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic and have placed over 24,000 people into treatment since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at paariusa.org.