A new recovery assistance program in Shakopee, Minnesota is offering confiscated drug money to help addicts find drug treatment. Shakopee police are recycling money seized during drug arrests to offer addicts as much as $3,000 for drug addiction treatment. “We know we’re not going to arrest our way or ticket our way out of this issue, “Police Chief Jeff Tate said. With the surging heroin addiction and opioid addiction in America, the program hopes to promote recovery after drug arrests. It is open to all residents of Shakopee, with or without criminal records. The financial burden addicts carry is one of the biggest problems they face when trying to enter treatment. Taking away that burden and funding this program with confiscated drug money can and will help them find treatment. The south metro department is the first in Minnesota to join a national movement of police guiding residents with drugs or alcohol addiction toward rehab and away from jail cells. Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to aid other police departments to implement similar programs, and to foster a dialogue around the unique opportunity for police departments to take direct action against the diseases of addiction. It originated in Gloucester, Mass., last year and has since gained more than 100 law enforcement departments in 23 states. Each PAARI program offers variations on amnesty, funding and assistance standards. The rising heroin addiction and opioid is a growing problem, these addicts need drug treatment.
For decades, police officers have been on the front lines of the war on drugs. They found themselves arresting more addicts than drug dealers. Tackling the supply of drugs was not putting a big enough dent. Addiction is still on the rise in America today. On top of battling substance abuse issues, when arrest drug addicts can face serious consequences and spend extended lengths of time in jail cells. That’s when Police Chief Lennard Campanello a developed a revolutionary new way to fight the war on drugs by doing something about the demand, not just the supply. Under his plan, drug addicts who ask the police department for help will be immediately taken to a hospital and placed in a recovery program. No arrest. No jail.
PAARI also works towards removing the stigma attached to the word “Drug Addiction “. They’re turning the conversation toward the disease of addiction rather than the crime of addiction. They work directly with treatment centers to secure scholarships and fully-funded in-patient programs. Another major priority on their hands is putting Narcan (an anti-reversal overdose medication for opioid overdoses) into as many hands as they can. Narcan can save the life of an overdose patient and give that person another opportunity to get into treatment and fight their disease.