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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU: Police-Led Addiction Program in Gloucester Shows First-Year Success

About 95 percent of individuals with substance-use disorders who came to the Gloucester Police Department for help accessing addiction treatment were placed in detoxification or substance-use treatment programs during the first year of a widely publicized initiative aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic, according to a report by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The report, in the New England Journal of Medicine, says that the “high direct-referral rate” by Gloucester police exceeds that of hospital-based initiatives designed to provide immediate access to detoxification and treatment.

“Despite the many barriers, including previous arrests, that may prevent persons with an opioid-use disorder from engaging with police, 376 people sought help in the first year of this program,” the report says.

The authors credited a number of factors for the program’s success, including the motivation of participants to enter treatment, work by police to find placements and establish a relationship with a local treatment center, and state-mandated insurance covering drug detoxification.

In June 2015, the Gloucester Police Department began the initiative, dubbed the Angel Program, which encourages people with opioid use disorder to come to the department and ask for treatment help, with no threat of arrest. Officers work to place the substance users in local treatment programs immediately.

To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2016/12/21/police-led-addiction-program-in-gloucester-shows-first-year-success/