Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail
By Katharine Q. Seelye
Published in The New York Times on January 24, 2016
“Critics said that he did not have the authority to take the law into his own hands and forgo arrests. But other police departments, fed up with arresting addicts and getting nowhere, saw the Gloucester approach as a promising way to address the epidemic of heroin and prescription pain pills, which together killed 47,055 people in 2014 nationwide — more than died in car accidents, homicides or suicides.
“Since the program began, 391 addicts have turned themselves in at the city’s brick police station. About 40 percent are from the Gloucester area; the rest come from all over the country. All have been placed in treatment.
“Just as surprisingly, 56 police departments in 17 states have started programs modeled on or inspired by Gloucester’s, with 110 more preparing to do so.”