Last summer, we wrote at length about the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI). Since that time, we are pleased to report that versions of the program have been adopted all over the country. In case you were not able to read the article about PAARI, otherwise known as the “Angel Program;” it is an initiative which encourages addicts to surrender their narcotics to local authorities and, in return, they will be linked with a substance use disorder treatment center. The program, thus far, has been hailed as a great success. On Tuesday, the PAARI Facebook page posted:
“In just 19 months, over 200 police departments in 28 states have become entry points into treatment for people suffering with the disease of opioid and heroin addiction. Together with our law enforcement partners, we’ve placed an estimated 10,000 people into treatment.”
Addicts Exercise Blind Faith
The idea that the same people (police), whose job it was to arrest those in possession of illegal drugs, were now addicts’ saving grace can be somewhat hard to wrap your head around. Nevertheless, the program has proved to be one of the most effective measures against the scourge of opioid addiction in the United States. It is a sign that addiction is no longer being viewed as a problem that we can arrest away. And it highlights the valuable role police officers can have in providing a great public service of impacting active addiction rates.
Historically, police officers were considered to be enemy “numero uno” by drug addicts, not dissimilar from how lawmakers labeled drug use in order to justify decades of imprisoning nonviolent drug offenders. However, the present situation has required both addicts and law enforcement to exercise some blind faith when it comes to one another. Rather than enemies, both addicts and cops can be allies in putting an end to the epidemic.
PAARI Saves Lives
Programs like PAARI are prime example of the paradigm shift in thinking occurring in America when it comes to addiction. If we can all agree that the disease is not a moral failing, but rather a legitimate mental health disorder, then society can come together to better address the epidemic of addiction. Through continued efforts to chip away at the stigma of mental illness, addicts will not only be “re-humanized,” they will get the help they so desperately require.
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we would like to commend the efforts of the various law enforcement agencies and their affiliate addiction treatment centers. The value of helping thousands of people find recovery should not be underestimated. Substance use disorder treatment was, is and will continue to be the best resource available for addicts. If you or a loved one is active in their addiction, please contact us today.