Want to end the war on drugs? Lobby your local police department. They’ve quietly had the power to end the whole thing this entire time—and some are doing just that.
This week, sick of an opioid overdose crisis that had killed four people in his town of 30,000 since the first of January, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Police Chief Leonard Campanello wanted to make certain he didn’t have to investigate another one.
“We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this DISEASE,” he wrote in a Facebook post. He wasn’t kidding.
Starting on June 1 in Gloucester, any addict who walks into his police station seeking help will get it—and they won’t face charges. They’ll be assigned an “angel,” like a sponsor, to help them through the transition. And nasal Narcan, which helps in the immediate aftermath of an overdose, is being made available at potentially no cost without prescription or insurance. Campanello swung a deal with a local CVS to make it happen.