Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Cops Around the Country Quietly Begin Rebelling Against the Drug War

Published on November 6, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

drug war

Carey Wedler

It is a rare occurrence when police officers in America organize to undermine the very Drug War theyvociferously fight for politicians. Police Chief Leonard Campanello of the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department, however, did just that earlier this year when he decided to treat — not arrest — heroin addicts who came to his department seeking help. His revolutionary “ANGEL” program has proven successful for addicts and their families in Gloucester, but it has also inspired other departments across the country to adopt similar programs amid growing officer fatigue over theineffectual arrest and incarceration of addicts.

In May, Campanello announced via Facebook that his department would adopt the new policy of treatment over arrest (note: it does not apply to individuals caught in possession of drugs who do not turn themselves in). The move was met with widespread praise and the new policy was officiallyenacted in June. Treatment centers and pharmacies have partnered with the police department to ensure addicts receive the care they need.

As the police department’s website explains:

If an addict comes into the Gloucester Police Department and asks for help, an officer will take them to the Addison Gilbert Hospital, where they will be paired with a volunteer ‘ANGEL’ who will help guide them through the process. We have partnered with more than a dozen additional treatment centers toensure that our patients receive the care and treatment they deserve — not in days or weeks, but immediately.

If you have drugs or drug paraphernalia on you, we will dispose of it for you. You will not be arrested. You will not be charged with a crime. You will not be jailed.

All you have to do is come to the police station and ask for help. We are here to do just that.

Five months since the program launched, Campanello reports positive results: over 260 addicts have been placed in treatment. This summer, shoplifting, breaking and entering, and larceny dropped 23% from the same period last year. “We are seeing real people get the lives back,” he said. “And if we see a reduction in crime and cost savings that is a great bonus.”

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