COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Police Chief Michael Covert announces that the Cooperstown Police Department will partner with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) to implement new addiction recovery initiatives and work with P.A.A.R.I. to place those struggling with addiction into treatment, starting this week on Thanksgiving.
Modeled after the Gloucester ANGEL Initiative, the Cooperstown Police Department’s program encourages residents who want to overcome their addiction to simply walk into the police station, turn over their drugs and equipment, and ask for help. They will not be charged. Instead, they will immediately be placed into a drug treatment program, regardless of financial means or insurance.
“We have seen the success of the Gloucester Police Department’s program and the resulting initiatives and want to do everything we can so we may see similar success in our own community,” Chief Covert said. “I applaud what Chief Campanello and P.A.A.R.I. have been able to accomplish and hope this partnership will allow us to help those struggling with addiction.”
Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown has committed to assisting Cooperstown Police in facilitating this process by helping to assess and treat those in need immediate medical care.
“I commend Chief Covert for his dedication to ending the stigma surrounding addiction and getting help to those who really need it,” Chief Campanello. “As the number of our law enforcement partners continues to grow, so does our ability to provide recovery services to those struggling with addiction all around the country.”
Chief Covert is also pushing for local pharmacies to make Nasal Narcan available to residents without a prescription. Currently, Nasal Narcan is legal without a prescription in 12 states but New York is not one of these states.
“We are pleased to welcome another law enforcement agency to the growing list of departments who want to fight this disease of addiction,” Rosenthal said. “Chief Covert and the Cooperstown Police Department will make a significant difference in the lives of those who are struggling with addiciton.”
In addition to making Narcan available without a prescription, Chief Covert hopes to create a video that residents can view in the privacy of their own homes, which would be included with Narcan kits. This video would contain information on how to make a 911 call about an overdose, how to start CPR and administer the Narcan, what to expect when first responders arrive, and a list of agencies that can provide assistance and recovery support.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) was started to support local police departments as they work with opioid addicts. Rather than arrest our way out of the problem of drug addiction, P.A.A.R.I. committed police departments:
• Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery
• Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses
• Connect addicts with treatment programs and facilities
• Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic
P.A.A.R.I. was created by Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal to bridge the gap between the police department and opioid addicts seeking recovery.