Letter writer had it wrong on police treatment of addicts

Aug 09, 2018

To the Editor,

In a recent opinion a writer made the statement “opioid addiction is still treated as a crime rather than an illness.”  That simply is not true.

In 2007, Massachusetts passed the Good Samaritan Law which protects a caller and overdose victim from arrest or prosecution for simple drug possession.

In December 2016, the Plymouth County Outreach Program (PCO) was formed.  PCO is an innovative collaboration between law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies which includes the District Attorney's Office, the Sheriff's Department, all 28 police departments, 5 major hospitals, recovery coaches, DCF, District Court Probation, community and faith-based coalitions.  The two main aspects of the program are; overdose follow-up and community drop in centers.

The goal is to provide an outreach team consisting of a plain clothes police officer, a licensed clinician, and/or a recovery coach who will conduct a home visit of the overdose survivor within 12 to 24 hours of an overdose to provide resources for treatment.

In addition to the outreach visits, community drop in centers are open in various sites across Plymouth County.

The innovative Plymouth County Outreach Program has been nominated as one organization for the 2018 International Association of Chiefs of Police, Community Policing Award.

It is not my intention to discuss the merits of one political candidate over another, but I felt compelled to correct a statement that is blatantly wrong when all the law enforcement agencies in Plymouth County have come together with a common goal to aid those who are battling addiction.

 

Marion Police Chief John Garcia

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