Gloucester police announce changes to heroin policy GLOUCESTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Police in one North Shore town are turning to alternatives to try and tackle the growing heroin problem in Massachusetts. The Gloucester Police Department announced a number of changes to their policies and the way they handle addicts beginning in June. "Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc.) or drugs and asks for help will not be charged. Instead, Gloucester police will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery," a statement from the police department read. Both Lahey Clinic in Burlington and Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester are partnering with the police department to assist those who walk into the police department looking for help. Additionally, Narcan, a nasal spray that is an antidote to those experiencing opiate overdoses, will be available at a local pharmacy, Conley's Drug Store, which has locations in Gloucester and Ipswich, to anyone regardless of if they have health insurance or not. "The police department will pay the cost of nasal Narcan for those without insurance," Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said. "We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations." The police department is also working with local CVS pharmacy locations on a similar deal. Chief Campanello is traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as well as Congressman Seth Moulton to discuss the federal aid and support for local efforts combating the heroin epidemic. Police say, "We have to take the stigma away from alcoholism and drug addiction... Because the people aren't bad people, they're addicted people." The announcement had been shared more than 13,000 times on the police department's Facebook page. http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/289...-heroin-policy Gloucester Police Department Leonard Campanello, Chief of Police 197 Main St. Gloucester , MA 01930 --- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, May 5, 2015 GLOUCESTER -- In a historic shift in police drug policy, Police Chief Leonard Campanello announced at a citywide forum that the Gloucester Police Department is implementing major changes to the way it handles the opioid and drug epidemic that has swept through every community in the nation. "We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this disease," Chief Campanello told residents. The Gloucester Police Department will implement the following measures, beginning in June: 1. Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc.) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead, Gloucester Police will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. "We will assign them an 'angel' who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot," Chief Campanello said. Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester and Lahey Clinic have committed to helping fast track people that walk into the police department so that they can be assessed rapidly and the proper care can be administered quickly. 2. Nasal Narcan has just been made available at local pharmacies without a prescription. The police department has entered into an agreement with Conley's Drug Store and is working on one with CVS that will allow anyone access to the drug at little to no cost regardless of their insurance. "The police department will pay the cost of nasal narcan for those without insurance," Chief Campanello said. "We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations. We will save lives with the money from the pockets of those who would take them. We recognize that nasal narcan is not the answer, but it is saving lives and no one in this City will be denied a life saving drug for this disease just because of a lack of insurance. Conley's has also agreed to assist with insurance requests from those who do not have any." 3. Chief Campanello will travel to Washington,D.C. with the support of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, the City Council, Senator Bruce Tarr, and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, on May 12 and 13. There, he will meet with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton. "I will bring what Gloucester is accomplishing and challenge them to change at the federal level how we receive aid, support and assistance," Chief Campanello said. "I will bring the idea of how far Gloucester is willing to go to fight this disease and will ask them to hold federal agencies, insurance companies and businesses accountable for building a support system that can eradicate opiate addiction and provide long term, sustainable support to reduce recidivism." Chief Campanello plans to lobby the Federal Government to increase the share of monies seized from drug dealers that is given to local communities, earmarking it for recovery and prevention services. -- On Saturday, May 2, the City held a forum regarding the opiate crisis, and on how Gloucester has many resources for help. Afterward, Chief Campanello posted his plans on the department's Facebook page. Since Saturday, the post has attracted nearly 800,000 unique views. His remarks also included the following: "I am asking for your help," Chief Campanello wrote. "Like this post, send it to everyone you can think of and ask them to do the same. Speak your comments. Create strength in numbers. I will bring it with me to show how many voters are concerned about this issue. Lives are literally at stake. I have been on both sides of this issue, having spent seven years as a plainclothes narcotics detective. I have arrested or charged many addicts and dealers. "I've never arrested a tobacco addict, nor have I ever seen one turned down for help when they develop lung cancer, whether or not they have insurance. The reasons for the difference in care between a tobacco addict and an opiate addict is stigma and money. Petty reasons to lose a life. "Please help us make permanent change here in Gloucester."