GLOUCESTER — John Rosenthal, Co-founder and Chairman of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), and Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade are pleased to announce the launch of a first-of-its-kind project in partnership with AmeriCorps. P.A.A.R.I. has received a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service to launch a groundbreaking program that will place 25 AmeriCorps members into service as drug recovery couches at host police department sites across Massachusetts.
This statewide program will build the capacity of law enforcement programs, prevent overdose deaths and provide vital resources to community members with substance use disorders. The drug recovery coaches will assist with municipal police-led addiction and recovery programs in light of the growing opioid epidemic.
MSA is proud to partner with PAARI and our law enforcement across the state to provide much needed capacity around the opioid epidemic. This program model reflects what AmeriCorps was set out to do when established 23 years ago – to train, empower and set forth individuals who want to solve problems and make our communities healthier and stronger. We feel strongly that this investment in AmeriCorps will play an important part in the overall response and recovery effort addressing the devastating substance abuse crisis in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Service Alliance CEO Emily Haber.
The organization is still accepting applications on a rolling basis for the remaining 15 P.A.A.R.I. AmeriCorps Members positions. Part-time and full-time positions are available at several police departments across Eastern Massachusetts.
Local Police Welcome Drug Recovery Coaches
“We are excited about the opportunity of adding additional resources in the form of a Recovery Coach to assist us on the streets and for folks to be able to drop in to Everett PD to start the process,” said Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie. “We know people need assistance with drug addiction and hope that they can start their recovery with our help.”
The Lynn Police Department has also added a P.A.A.R.I. AmeriCorps program member. Lynn has reported 381 overdoses so far in 2017, with 50 fatalities. Lynn had 444 overdoses in 2016 and 50 total fatalities.
“The Lynn Police Department welcomes the addition of the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Program to our ongoing efforts to reach out to those who are struggling with addiction,” added Lynn Police Chief Michael A. Mageary.
The two P.A.A.R.I. provided recovery coaches will join our substance abuse clinician and jail diversion clinician, who currently make up our Behavioral Health Unit, and make us better able to connect with those who are at high risk of fatally overdosing.”
The Northwest Middlesex Community Outreach Initiative Network (C.O.I.N.), a network of 10 police departments, has also received a grant to add an AmeriCorps member.
“We’re happy to have received one of the AmeriCorps grants to bring in a full-time person who can further the work we’re already doing surrounding substance abuse and mental health,” said Pepperell Police Chief David Scott, a C.O.I.N. member. “We encourage anyone who has an interest in these fields to apply.”