FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 5, 2019
NEW BRITAIN—Three months after its launch, the H.O.P.E. (Heroin, Opioid Prevention, and Education) initiative which allows police officers leniency when making an opioid-related arrest, has helped 24 individuals get connected to services to help their addiction, officials announced today.
From Nov. 20, 2018 until Feb. 27, 2019, the New Britain Police reported the following statistics:
? Six individuals transported by police to medical care
? Seven incidents involving the seizure of drugs and no arrests were made in lieu of treatment
? Fourteen referrals to social services
? Thirteen transports by medics following a referral by police
? Four incidents in which individuals flagged police down for help and a referral
“In a short amount of time, we are already seeing positive signs that individuals are reaching out and getting the help they need,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “This is a public health crisis that requires a unique community partnership model like H.O.P.E. in order to transform lives.”
In November 2018, the City of New Britain partnered with the State’s Attorney’s Office and area service providers to create a coordinated pathway to treatment and recovery for individuals struggling with heroin and opioid addictions. Among the partners are: The New Britain and Berlin Police Departments, the New Britain Fire Department, the Hospital of Central Connecticut and Midstate Medical Center, Community Mental Health Affiliates, Wheeler Clinic, Rushford clinic, Corum Deo, the State’s Attorney’s Office, and New Britain EMS.
Through a memorandum of understanding, officers are able to offer discretion when encountering an individual struggling with addiction on the street. Officers can forgo a possession or paraphernalia charge in order to get a person into treatment; if the person has an arrest pending—that charge will be dealt with first. Officers at the front desk of area police stations have also been trained to provide assistance to individuals looking for a path to recovery.
Through the H.O.P.E. (Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education) initiative, officers who come in contact with heroin or opioid abusers are encouraged to check in to treatment without the fear of arrest. Police and emergency responders can bring the patient to an emergency room, where they are assessed for appropriate treatment. Patients are also offered a recovery coach and access to wrap around services.
“Individuals who are struggling with opioid addiction can’t be arrested into getting better. This shift in the way that we interact with members of the community is changing the way that residents interact with law enforcement. They are viewing us in a new light and realizing that we can be a valuable resource on their path towards recovery,” said Acting Deputy Chief Christopher Chute.
In addition to the H.O.P.E. Initiative, Mayor Stewart in January 2019 launched the New Britain Opioid Task Force to look at additional ways to prevent opioid-related deaths. The Task Force is led by the Mayor and includes members of the City’s Community Services division and Health Departments, New Britain EMS, CMHA, the New Britain Fire Department, and other partners. Committees will focus on collecting and sharing
data, a public information campaign, the development of online resources, applying for grants, offering community Naloxone training sessions, and more.
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