Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail

Approaching addiction as a disease, the Gloucester Police Department became the unusual law enforcement agency offering heroin users an alternative to prison.

Comments: 156

  1. Bravo, Chief Campanello. Countless individuals and families dealing with drug addiction will have such better options thanks to your work. Thanks for leading with humanity, using your success to make success for others, and treating people with dignity. Truly protecting and serving. Bravo.

  2. Kudos to Chief Campanello for his pioneering approach to the drug abuse scourge hitting New England (inter alia). Detox and counseling are much better alternatives than imprisonment. People should not be dismissed as throwaways, nor should the criminal justice system be flooded with those who can be redirected towards positive behavior. And I hope that this constructive approach sends a signal to those who are falling that there is a lifeline.

  3. Amen to those who agree that treatment is a better option than punishment.
    England has offered treatment to addicts for decades. It is not only an effective approach to the problem, but does not impose a criminal penalty for what perhaps should be approached -- as it is there -- as a treatable medical condition rather than a moral failure.

  4. Drug addiction is for the most part a victimless crime, where the only crime committed is the disrespect of some artificially sacrosanct "written law" - punishing the offender doesn't make the world any safe for others, but it does reinforce "who's the Boss". And that's not justice, that's just dominance and authoritarianism.

    To use the same resources spent on incarceration and put it towards rehabilitation not only is more humane, but it also makes the society safer and better for everyone for hopefully out of it there will be one less person whose heart will look maybe more kindly to others rather than bearing a an grudge towards it for the lest of their lives. If only we would remember the old adage: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar . . . there wouldn't be so much anger and rage filling people.

  5. Addiction is not victimless. Yes, rehab is preferred to prison but this is a fight to keep life long demons at bay and under control. People have a tendency to become angry when they don't or can't understand consistent relapses and continued self-destruction. It is a very hard journey for anyone who is an addict or lives with, loves or is related to an addict. No one escapes the scourge or legacy of addiction.

  6. Incarceration is certainly not the answer to drug abuse and addiction, but calling it mostly "victimless" is absolutely incorrect. My father's life was cut short by a meth user who beat him nearly to death- not as a robbery to feed his habit, but because of the drugs themselves. My father spent the last two years of his life in agony before he died.

    Rehabilitation works- when the addict wants to be rehabilitated. If there is no desire, they will commit crime after crime, either to obtain drugs, or simply because their brains are addled- and there will be plenty of victims.

  7. I have to take you to task on the "victimless crime" statement. Compassion is the only way to treat addiction, to be sure, but discounting the massive suffering that families of addicts go through invalidates your comment. Yes, addicts only physically hurt themselves when they push the needle in, or take down that next pill, but the pain of addiction as a disease is widespread.

    Each saga of addiction comes with stories of late-night phone calls concerning car wrecks, lost wages or housing, costly visits to lawyers, doctors and police, money lent to cover debts or living costs, and replacing "lost" goods, to say nothing of the cost of the cycle rehab and relapse. Add up the expenses, coupled with the constant fear, shame and stigma of having a "junkie" in the family, and there are more than enough victims to go around.

    To your last point about anger, it is so hard for me to fault families who reach a certain point with their addicts and get mad. Anger and confusion are natural reactions to something seen by those who have not experienced it as entirely preventable. Those people should not be shouted down, they should be enlightened to the fact that they, in their parental or familial duties, did not fail, and anger must be set aside in order to do real good.

  8. Here is a peace officer who understands a good method for controlling drug addiction. It is beneficial to the addict, it reduces the number of active addicts and saves the taxpayers money. It must also make the "Glostah" PD feel wonderful about what they do with this program. It is pragmatic. I hope that this redemptive approach becomes more popular across the country. Jail does not cure addiction. This method has a good chance of curing addiction.

  9. Skilled counselors are a scarce resource. It seems ill advised for them to spend their time on anyone who is not well motivated to quit, and is only there to avoid criminal charges.
    If the goal is to avoid overdose deaths, safe injection sites, including the one in Vancouver BC, have an excellent safety record, and give health workers a chance to promote all kinds of harm reduction.

  10. newageblues - how is it that you KNOW that the addicts who are turning themselves into the Chief's police department are "only there to avoid criminal charges?" Undoubtedly it is true that all of them are there for that...but I would guess that at least a large percentage of them are there for help.

    Having lived 5 years with a now-23-year-old daughter who is a heroin addict, I can tell you that she has gotten clean but returned to this horrible evil several times now. She tells me that she wants to have a "normal" life again, but once addicted to heroin (which one of her rehab doctors called "True Evil") it is powerfully difficult to stop. I am her mother - I don't give up on her.

    She HAS been to jail for this and now has a permanent record which has already impacted her ability to get a job or to get into college.

    Drug addiction IS a disease, a powerful and devastating disease. My daughter has overdosed 4 times that I know of; she has been so depressed at her inability to stay clean she slit her wrists then, realizing what she had done, called the paramedics. I cleaned up the giant pool of coagulated blood on my kitchen floor.

    Bless you, Chief Campanello, for your ability to see the human being behind the addict. You have motivated me to work for this in my community. You are a wise and compassionate man - Gloucester is blessed to have you.

  11. I wasn't trying to comment specifically on this program, though it might have sounded like it. The most interesting thing about this program to me is the Police Chief's passion and commitment, and I salute him for that. But I want to see addicts who aren't interested in stopping being helped too. If addicts could get their drugs without resorting to the black market and its ruinous prices, and were only held accountable for their behavior that violates the rights of others, we would all be a lot safer.

  12. It will be interesting to see the success rate. Only if an addict wants to stop can they embark on the road to rehab. Even then most fail to stop. It's a better approach than jail, but drug treatment through rehab is rarely successful.

  13. Their initiative is commendable. Hope their model won't ossify.

  14. Where are you getting the information that rehab is rarely successful and most addicts fail to stop, even if they want to?

    I understand this is a sensitive issue that everyone has an opinion on, but honestly, your statement is patently incorrect.

  15. This just goes to show that Law Enforcement is out to: Help the people! With all the negative publicity coming from the media about racism and police killings; society needs more police chiefs like Campenello. The problem with drugs( heroine) the drug is extremely addictive and cheap and has been around since the turn of the century. With marijuana legal ( medicinal use) alcohol. Drunk Drivers killing and maiming, guns that continue to fall into the wrong hands( Mentally Unstable/ Convicted Felons). It's a crazy world we live in! Most of the parents crack me up when the preach drugs to their own kids. During the " Woodstock Era" it was nothing but " sex, drugs, Rock n Roll and death! Take a look at all the musicians who died young( Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Wilson, Kurt Cobein, Rick James, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and many more either from alcohol or drug use! I have very little or no sympathy for people that use drugs! People make a mess of there own lives then expect society to pay for their own mistakes? Mortality is inevitable for everybody whether u die young or old it's the persons choice!!!!!!

  16. you didn't have to "kill" brian wilson, even if you have "little of no sympathy."

  17. The fact that more than 2 million people read Chief Campanello's blog post speaks to the size of the addiction crisis in our society. Trying something different seems like a great idea to me. We can't just keep putting people in jail. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. Thank you for lighting a candle in the darkness, Chief.

  18. Often, big changes have to start small. I applaud this Chief's willingness to try and set a precedent. While addiction is not a crime, it often does lead to crimes being committed. The challenge here will be in addressing both the crimes and the disease at the same time, and serving justice to both the public and the addict through one avenue, the local justice system. It seems that judicial guidelines would need to be restructured or rewritten to support what he is trying to do, so that a crime of theft committed by an addict who has consented to treatment is handled differently or has different penalties than the same crime committed by a non-addict.

  19. "The idea that addiction should be treated as a health issue instead of a crime has gained currency as heroin has spread from black inner cities to the nation’s suburbs, rural outposts and the white middle class."

    This paragraph is all that was needed. The rest was just fluff. In a nutshell, the black man's crime has become the white man's "disease". Apparently, white lives matter much more than black lives.

  20. It's a good result whatever the trigger for constructive thinking was. Give black addicts equal access to the rehab option. It will be huge!

  21. There's some truth to this, but I doubt that the chief would tell African American addicts to get lost, or arrest them. Let's also not forget that there are some in the system, notably the district attorney in Gloucester, who still don't get it and want to keep arresting people, regardless of the color of their skin. Let's also not forget that the Gloucester police department is, by far, in the minority. And let's also not forget that this approach threatens lots of livelihoods in the criminal justice system, ranging from cops on the streets to prosecutors to defense attorneys to judges to prison guards, all of whom would lose jobs/money if everyone started emulating the chief. My guess is, a lot of these folks care mostly about one color: green.

    It has taken much, much too long for this to happen. Let's be grateful that it has happened and hope the idea spreads. Hopefully, we will one day get to the point of Portugal, which has legalized all drugs and seen crime plummet at the same time.

  22. Dude, go with a good thing! No to the diss.

  23. White Junkie Lives Matter.....
    It's no longer a personal failing.
    It's no longer a product of single parent families.
    It's no longer a reason for imprisonment.

    What utter hypocrisy!!!

    It's hard to argue with the approach,
    but the history of the war on drugs reeks of racism.

  24. Yes, you are correct, the history of war on drugs reeks of racism and there is plenty of hypocrisy but we have to start somewhere.

  25. Seriously! Black addicts = criminals to be thrown in jail; white addicts=sensitive souls in need of treatment. "We have to start somewhere" does not address the unequal treatment carried out in the past.

  26. I agree with Chief Campanello's approach. However; the tactics used on heroin addicts changed when the color of the addicts did. Since the face of this addiction became more suburban, heroin addicts are considered redeemable. Which is a far cry from when the face was more urban and inner city. Back then suburbanites elected politicians who would be tough on addiction. Now a politician must view addiction as a disease. What Has Changed and why aren't addicts considered junkies anymore?

  27. It is breathtakingly disingenuous for the prosecutors to worry about "selective enforcement" when there is growing evidence of "selective prosecution" in their pursuit of indictments against drug offenders. Do they not recognize the number of crimes that would be averted by successful treatment of heroin addicts? Is that worth sacrificing for the prosecutor to get another notch in her belt when all those notches haven't done much to stop the spread of addiction? These self-serving complaints by prosecutors would be risible if they weren't so utterly cynical.

  28. The article fails to mention whether Ms. Jesi had an arrest record, and why that wasn't used as leverage to keep her under court supervision. There has to be accountability or else, even with the best of intentions like Chief Campanello's, you just end up enabling the addict.

  29. This a true police officer, who truly wants to serve community to make it a better place for the people, who live in, instead of taking them off the street and creating new class of citizens.

  30. Indeed.

    To protect, serve--and think. We need more cops like this.

  31. Good, Chief. But the state policy makers still need to make some changes. You've effectively decriminalized drug use - the right policy choice - but you don't have legislative support for that (yet). Also, though it was a smart move on your part, if this is a health issue why is it up to the police chief to implement a health policy? Shouldn't this policy be administered by the health department?

  32. DA Blodgett shouldn't be casting stones at the chief. Blodgett should be asking himself why he wants so badly to keep doing the same thing over and over and failing and yet want to continues doing exactly the same thing without batting an eye? It's Blodgett who is every bit as addicted to this problem as any of the junkies. Does he need repeat business so badly that he can't give up on the delusion that the war on drugs does anything helpful here? Because that's the only effect the failed policy that Blodgett supports yields without question .

    I suspect that Blodgett fears that Campanello's approach will point out the obvious. Addiction is a health problem, primarily. The law does little to nothing to help anyone. It's treatment that works, when it can, and patience that's necessary when it doesn't. The law needs changed, too, to takes the useless cudgels it provides out of the hands of those like Blodgett that can only see something needing smacked with their cudgels and not human beings.

  33. I agree with those that think the Chief has an ethical problem with what he is doing. He can advocate, he can support and he can assist but he took an oath.
    He needs to outsource what he is doing but he can't do it from within the confines of a police station.

  34. Hopefully the cost of jail versus treatment will make some see the light. Anyone who uses violent means to feed their habit should be locked up.

    A neighbor of mine in a very good all white neighborhood lost his daughter to a drug deal gone bad. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation told him they have so many of these cases they could only spend a short time on the case.

    To me the mere smoking of a cigarette is a terrible thing but the idea of shooting heroin - well that is just gross. For those of you who don't know, the name Heroin has been trade marked by the Bayer company, a reputed German pharmaceutical company because they thought they had a sure fire pain reliever, one that worked better than their aspirin.

    I often wonder how many millions of dollars are spent on putting people in prison for mere possession of a couple of joints. BTW this is still in wonderful TX.

  35. Great story.

    The "War on Drugs" as prosecuted by law enforcement in this country for the last twenty or thirty years has been a complete failure by anyone's definition.

    A solution to this problem is not going to come from the failed policies of the past, but from the kind of out of the box approaches displayed by Chief Campanello.

    I come from that part of the world , and although I don't know Campanello personally, I know people like him. I believe if we are ever going to put this problem behind us it will be because of pragmatists like him, not the nitwits currently running for high office, who will be the solution.

  36. Twenty or thirty? Try 90. Prohibition was the opening battle of that war, and it left the country with organized crime and a deep distrust of government.

  37. Chief Campanello and the Gloucester PD and citizens doing the work of angels. heroin is a scourge. destroying lives from all backgrounds in this millennium epidemic. judgements never solved a thing.

  38. I think it is instructive to remember that Governor Rockefeller was a big fan of treatment for addicts in the 1960's. However, he found out that that most addicts did not benefit from treatment, and he then had the legislature pass the draconian “Rockefeller drug laws” in the 1970's.

    There are no easy answers for heroin addiction. We need a balanced approach. Drug treatment for first time offenders. Incarceration for those who continue to break the law to support their habit. Investing more money in heroin addiction research. Most important, change the medical profession's attitude about opiates for pain relief.

  39. Change the medical profession's attitude about opiates for pain relief??? The number of narcotics prescriptions peaked in 2011, which not coincidentally was the year that the recent heroin epidemic started. Thanks to the DEA, it's now harder to get a relatively safe low-potency opioid like Vicodin (still available over the counter in many countries) from your doctor than it is to get heroin. Recently when had major surgery, you know they offered me for pain in the hospital--Tylenol! I realized that I better start stocking up now because someday soon even hospice isn't going to be able to prescribe pain meds anymore. With the rest of the medical establishment cowed by the DEA, hospice is as endangered as Planned Parenthood at a Republican congressional hearing. Great job War On Drugs!

  40. "A believer that addiction is a disease, ...". No, I think he's a man more attuned to the facts and his own experience, not some sort of cant, which would make him a believer. Addiction of any kind is a terrible thing. And it is a disease. Pathological but not criminal. It may result in criminal acts and it often does but, of itself, it is surely a disease.

  41. What a "revolutionary", common sense idea! Anyone condemning this approach simply does not understand how addiction works. The chances of an addict walking away from his addiction on their own is so low, it happens perhaps once in a blue moon. Of course, they need to be steered towards treatment, not destructive incarceration!
    Moreover, by not prosecuting the addicts, the police can much better use its resources to go after the dealers who transform good people into addicts in the first place. It is the drug dealers who should be prosecuted for murder, aggravated assault and for deliberately inflicting serious bodily harm onto their victims.
    Keep it up, Chief!

  42. Too often, the addiction begins w/ an injury, a trip to a Dr's office and a prescription for a pain med. The dealer becomes involved after the addiction has commenced because the price he/she charges is lower than the price of the pain med.
    Yes, the dealers need to be arrested, but how do you solve the initial problem that started with an injury and pain meds?

  43. It is reassuring to know that law enforcement is at least thinking about another avenue to control the death and destruction spread by the opiate plague. Granted, there are no addiction doctors working for the DEA and the police, but maybe there should be; we are among the last of the Western democracies to continue to treat opiate dependence as a crime as opposed to what it really is--a public health problem made worse by harsh punishment.

    My own experience working with addiction treatment is that inpatient treatment--which is wildly expensive--is not always the only avenue to remission. I have seen patients do well and achieve sobriety with private outpatient treatment as well. As this forward-looking police chief blazes a new trail in managing this community problem, perhaps more healthcare professionals will come forward to assist in making treatment affordable and available to all who want it.

    The road to sobriety is not linear--it is full of relapses, failures and mistakes and is therefore often circuitous. But the reward is life: full, rewarding, beautiful and free of the chains of addiction. Isn't life worth the effort?

  44. I agree with so much of the sentiment in this column, but as a treatment provider, feel the need to speak up on the question of who is stepping forward to fund efforts like this. Good programs have been trying to keep providing good care with fewer and fewer resources each year. We have not seen an increase in our rate from our largest government contract in twenty years! So many great organizations already provide heavily subsidized care. It would be wonderful for everyone to advocate for better insurance coverage (most people do not have any real residential treatment coverage) and reimbursement rates (especially, but not only, Medicaid).

  45. It's about time, actually way past the time when we criminalized drug users and filled our jails and prisons with (predominately non-white) drug users. Now that the disease has hit the white suburbs and law enforcement and other government officials (including the Governor of my state) are shedding crocodile tears at the injustice of treating drug addicts as criminals.

    While the revelation is appreciated, the hypocrisy is blatant. Humans, and that means all humans, have something in them that drives a portion of the population to turn to chemical alteration of their consciousness and that often becomes addictive and that addiction often makes people break laws.

    Where is the funding to study that science of addiction? Where is the research into how to prevent addictive behavior, even among non-white populations?

    To be sure we have treatment centers that advertise their ability to cure the addict, but the pictures belie the intent because the addicts portrayed are all white and attractive, as are the staff. As I said, your hypocrisy is showing.

    I'd like an open admission that we, as a nation blew it for more than a couple of generations treating addicts as criminals. While we're at it, lets confess that we American drug consumers are source of the drug problem and stop telling ourselves that we're not responsible for the carnage that drugs have wrought all over the planet.

  46. What will happen to the people convicted before this "compassionate program" who weren't given the chances of Stephenie Jesi?

  47. Bravo. There was a time that we put people in prison for being in debt. About time to stop putting people in prison because they have a physical dependency.

  48. One police chief realizing that addiction is not a crime but an health and social issue is a small triumph.

    And now how do we get rid of the failed war on drugs and move societies to a more rational approach to addiction? And what about legalization for those of us that want to be addicts?

  49. @MacDonald,
    If your last sentence is a joke, I didn't get it.

    [email protected]:41 pm est

  50. There's very strong statistical evidence that the availability of medicine cannabis significantly lowers the rate of opiate overdose deaths. I do not have words for how insane it is that cannabis still cannot be prescribed for pain in most states. Doctors need to be allowed to prescribe cannabis everywhere in this country, subject only to normal professional oversight. The President and Congress need to do their job, and not kowtow to special interests.

  51. You've stated the elephant in the room. Cannabis has some pretty good properties to treat a host of illnesses and problems but we can't get the Federal Government to remove it's hard drug classification leading to lack of real widespread and additional health research.

    I hope that public pressure and common sense allow us to be able to use it - and get off the drugs that really cause problems - prescription pain medications.

  52. Wish the NY Times editors could figure out where they stand on this issue. The most effective, accessible, and cost efficient treatment for heroin/opioid addiction is suboxone (buprenorphine). Yet 2 years ago the Times spent 4 days mounting what seemed a campaign against the medication (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/health/in-demand-in-clinics-and-on-the.... Yet not a word in this article on the role of opioid replacement (methadone or buprenorphine). Science shows that the effects of long term opioid on brain neurochemistry are unfortunately profound. For most, cold turkey abstinence is unrealistic. Harm reduction (opioid replacement therapy), together with humane, practical approaches from law enforcement, offers the best hope of stemming the tide of overdose deaths.

  53. Andrew,
    I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but, I clicked on your link and it said "page not found."

    [email protected]:38 pm est

  54. Wow. . . Yes!!! . . . Thank you Chief Campanello. . . And look at the support in these comments - the desirability of this approach is overwhelmingly clear. So why is it taking so long to get it adopted nationally? Yes, I think I know the answers, but it's still very, very sad.

  55. Brilliant, finally common sense prevailed,,, kudos Chief

  56. "The chief and other law enforcement officers insist that the police have discretion when it comes to arrests."

    That can lead to Selective Enforcement of the law and could well have a unfair impact on the constitutional rights of some kinds of offenders.

    Some people will be called addicts/alcoholics/mentally-ill or criminals,
    and be diverted into a program that they might not be able to complete.

    Those who were decided to be criminals can then face jail time when it hasn't been proven that they did the crime.

    And as well, each time an 'offender' goes out (slips back into addiction/illness) and then must check back in,
    the Provider gets a 'new patient' and therefore new $$$$payment for treatment.

    Profit can be had when the 'help' is not of the solid, successful kind.

  57. Drug laws have made all American adults children under the law for no benefit. If Nixon had foreseen the consequences of his WOD, he might have reconsidered.

  58. As I remember the history, Nixon's decision was political in nature.

    He wanted to be seen as "tough on crime" and wanted a crime that involved interstate commerce that would allow the Federal law enforcement people to get involved.

    The WOD was the choice offered to him, and to his credit, Nixon's drug enforcement did have some treatment aspects.

    It was a pragmatic, political choice by team Nixon, with probably little concern for the consequences.

    Reagan did away with the treatment aspect as drug addiction became a moral failure requiring jail time.

    But didn't Nancy have a problem with diet drugs?

    I find it a bit ironic that the quoted DA and former DA both worry about selective enforcement when they have both witnessed the selective non-enforcement of the Obama-Holder justice department on recent financial crimes.

    Maybe we should channel our inner Eric Holder and make drug addicts lives "too important to fail".

  59. My heart felt a surge of joy reading this piece. Joy to see the compassion and sensibleness that a human being, Leonard Campanello in this case, can show to his fellow human beings. Certainly he is going to run into criticism (life is so complex) but he is willing to take risks for the sake of saving people. I admire him greatly and give honor to him and the rest of his force and the good people of Glocester. I like the word "discretion". That is what sensible people need to be able to exercise. We cannot always be dictated to by hard and fast rules. We certainly need order but life does not always accommodate itself to "rules".

  60. I only wish that we can make some useful sense of the drug policy that applied since the war on drugs began, applying the harshest legal penalties, including the harshest possible incarceration on non-white populations and now that the problem is affecting white populations, we suddenly find ourselves sympathetic to the addicts, and more than willing to divert resources to humane treatments.

    I wonder if Chief Campanello is capable of acknowledging the underlying inherent bigotry demonstrated by these changes in attitude.

    If he could, if we can, it doesn't change what has happened, but it would perhaps indicate the ability to hasten the end of bigotry--the fundamental remaining inhibition to the advancement of civilization.

  61. Well Done, Chief Campanello, Well Done Indeed. You are proof that when Law Enforcement looks beyond the Political Agenda to solve the communities' problems, they are more able to find reasonable and lasting solutions. May your success be the example for more Police Departments to set aside Political Mandates and solve the identified community problem, whatever it might be, by using knowledge of your citizens, understanding and common sense; what Police were once known for. Thank You.

    Scott E. Torquato, MS, LCSW
    Eastampton, Mass.

  62. He makes me so proud to live in Gloucester,

  63. You would be considered quite progressive even in my country. Thank you for making progress on a tough file. I'd like to shake your hand sir.

  64. I applaud his progressive thinking. However, are we going to release the previous victims of addiction from the inner cities? I doubt it.....

  65. Clone him clone him clone him!

    The fewer stresses an addict has on them, the more likely they are to recover and be able to face the typical pressures of life. If an addict is able to focus on work, recovery, and health rather than having the pressure and fear of jail time, or of having to steal and sell to pawn shops for cash, and has a substitute such as methadone or suboxone to bridge the gap to recovery, they are likely to recover more easily. The criminal justice is no place to be with this awful allergy to deathly painkillers. Yet another remedy that helps relax the severe anxiety of getting off the medications/pain killers is that of marajuana. There are many addicts in Colo. who have used legalized marajuana to get off the pain killers. Marajuana does not kill, by the way.

    We have got to move this country from incarceration to treatment and understanding. Clone on...

  66. Maybe this is a sign that the Prison Industrial complex is on its way out.

  67. Hallelujah & Bravo to Chief Campanello.
    Your actions are indeed "thinking outside the box".
    You are an example of combining the best attributes of the Priesthood, Medicine, Law & "Public Safety".
    Please continue to show other Police Departments how it's done.
    As a healthcare professional, I thank you.

  68. Sad, really, that doing what this chief has done is "thinking outside the box." It is common sense.

  69. If it is a disease, then what causes it?

  70. Trauma and/or genetics.

  71. The Chief is taking a step in the right direction. I would like to go further. Those who are evaluated to be unable to kick the heroin habit should have clinics to provide the drugs they need to prevent collateral damage to innocent victims of crime. Addiction is a problem that is deep and wide with no easy answers. Let's look at some other countries efforts, e.g. Uruguay and Portugal, to get some workable solutions.

  72. In Linder v. United States (1925) the Supreme Court held that "control of medical practice in the states is beyond the power of the federal government." Dr. Linder was prescribing opiates to addicts. The Supreme Court sided with the doctor. By following the (legal) example set forth by Dr. Linder, addicts would never come in contact with the police in the first place.

  73. Kudos to the politicos who have gave explicit support to this new approach, for example Rep. Seth Moulton. This could easily have been shut down if cliche "law and order" pressure had been brought to bear from above.

  74. Leonard Campanello for president.

  75. Treatment instead of jail for drug addicts seems much more effective and empathetic. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can often modify negative thinking and daily life patterns, but it may fail to address feelings of separation from one's deep, core Self.

    I recommend the following.
    (1) YouTube - "The Power Of Addiction And The Addiction Of Power" - Dr. Gabor Mate at TEDxRio
    "The addiction is about trying to fill (an) emptiness from the outside."
    "We have to find the light within ourselves and ... within community."

    (2) Article - "Renowned Dr, Gabor Mate On Psychedelics And Unlocking The Unconscious From Cancer To Addiction" - alternet.org
    "The way through emptiness is ... from the inside. And that's where the (spiritual and healing experiences from) ayahausca come into it."

    (3) YouTube - "Stanislav Grof - Revision and Re-Enchantment Of Psychology" - Emphasis is on "holotropic" (leading to wholeness) transpersonal experiences.

    (4) YouTube - "This Is Life With Lisa Lang - season 1, episode 5 - Jungle Fix" - Report on visionary healing using ayahausca.
    (This Amazonian plant substance was helping Dr. Gabor's addiction patients, but the Canadian government said "illegal - stop". Then, Dr. Gabor began to partner with some shamanic healers in Peru.

    (5) Article - "Feeding Your Demons"/Tricycle - tricycle.com -
    by Tsultrim Allione
    Teachings based on Tibetan Buddhist "Chod" meditation.

    (6) Times articles about - narcan nasal spray, and buprenorpine implants

  76. Carol,
    You really put a lot of thought into a very caring post.

    [email protected]:32 pm est

  77. We need more police chiefs to have this attitude. Prohibition does NOT work. It only hurts addicts and helps organized crime who profit off of black markets.

    This is true of drugs, alcohol, guns, and abortions (although I don't think you can be addicted to abortions).

  78. "I believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes these drugs so valuable – while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

    History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

    We believe that by eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law enforcement could focus more on crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated assault, child abuse and murder, making our communities much safer.

  79. Considering the entrenched and greedy interests of the prison industrial complex it is amazing that Chief Campanello and his fellow police involved in this approach to drug treatment and addicts are able to do the good they do.

    They are shining examples of when people THINK rather than just say "I followed orders." And my gratitude goes out to them. The drug wars have benefitted very few and increased violence. Its as if we learned nothing from Prohibition.

    And thanks to the NYT for brining this article to print.

  80. Kudos to the chief he is brave enough to tackle and old problem with new innovations !

  81. This is a truly moving piece. Thank you, Chief Campanello, for some refreshing thinking during a time when that seems sadly absent.

  82. Hats off to Chief Campanello for realizing that the 'war on drugs' is dead. It did nothing but put more people in jail- usually people of color and lined the pockets of those who helped privatize prisons and ruin lives. Part of the problem with the drug epidemic has been big pharma producing oxy, methadone, fentanyl, etc. and marketing these drugs to doctors who in turn prescribe them to patients who become addicted. Rehab is an important step as is education. I worked for the State of N.H. in the early 1970's educating high school students about drugs and drug use ramifications. At that time there was alcohol and marijuana, hardly any if any heroin, cocaine, meth. Students were given information to make wise, thoughtful decisions. The same should happen now. All drugs should be legalized and controlled taking the street dealer and his higher ups out of the picture. Taxes should be placed on drugs (as alcohol and cigarets are now taxed) to pay for education and treatment when and if needed. We need more folks like Chief Campanello and more accessible treatment and rehab not more jails and police.

  83. The war on drugs is a scam. Everyone knows it, only a few will admit it.

  84. God Bless Chief Campanello ... I'd say he should run for Senator or something, but than again that might mess him up. And to the two district attorneys mentioned here against him, go bury your heads in the sand.

  85. What amazes me is that rehabilitation over prison is popular only when the white community is involved. Where were these police chiefs when minorities were imprisoned instead of being rehabbed? Just another example that the system is gamed.

  86. What Chief Campanello has done for the community of Gloucester is truly admirable. Since drug usage and addiction is a prevalent problem in the U.S. and other parts of the globe, I believe that program's like Gloucester's Angels is more beneficial than punishing those who are facing addiction. Through Campanello's initiative, promising help and treatment to anyone with addiction who comes in seeking it, it may be possible that other programs such as this one can be established in other communities throughout the country.

  87. It was common knowledge since the 60's to give addicts rehab, not just jail time. Or mental health treatment instead of jail for the mentally ill works a lot better in the long run. But the Republicans War on Drugs in the 80's forgot it worked better than jail and is cheaper in the long run. Now we are learning the same old lessons of how to prevent re-affenders. Europe never forgot it and it has worked a lot better in the long run for them also. I think a lot of forgetting how to treat addicts was based on racism against crack users.

  88. And the Democrats refused to stand up and really fight against the War. They have a long habit of caving in when it comes to social and human service and is one of the reasons I became an Independent.

  89. My concern is something else. New ACA has a provision for treatments of drug addicts for up to $30K without any out of pocket deductibles. I hope that this police chief is not helping any local drug treatment center by diverting drug addicts there instead of sending them to a jail. Thus I hope that Mr. Campanello is not mimicking Mr. Sheldon Silver under the disguise of helping his community and its citizens at the cost of tax payers in Massachusetts. Good Luck everybody!

  90. Incarcerating people is also paid for by the tax payer, hence it is better to spend it on rehabilitation.

  91. Amazing courage and clear thinking on the part of Chief Campanello. He's an Ameican hero. He has correctly understood the problem. May God bless him and his compassionate efforts.

  92. Now we just have to make sure that the treatment addicts are steered toward is based on science, not faith alone, as has been the American tradition. Opioid addiction treatment utilizing methadone or suboxone has far higher success rates than 12 steps programs that don't.

  93. Morphine can stimulate cancer growth! Yes- that is why today during cancer surgery, they do not use it in the operating room and use a nonsteroidalantiinflammatory drug NSAID such as Diclofenac during after surgery for pain relief. It comes as an IV and also pill form and has to be given with food to protect stomach irritiation.

    This should be more widely known so that MD's stop prescribing opioids for pain management when there are better alternatives that do not cause addiction. Also- people would stay away from narcotics if they knew this link to cancer.
    Enclosed is one typical example of this new discovery on the internet at a reliable source of the NIH : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21267766

  94. Great program with lots of wisdom and insight. The District Attorneys seem to have lost sight of the goal. It's about helping people and benefiting the community.

  95. Proof that the police can help people in trouble, and don't have to be hostile and adversarial. Our nation needs more such police, not the ones that too often make headlines.

  96. As a person who comes from a family of addicts, I whole heartedly respect what Chief Campanello is doing. Drug addiction is an illness and it should be treated as such. I believe that once we as society begins to destigmatize drug addiction the more lives can be saved. And by destigmatize I mean, really seeing your loved one as a person and not just a "junkie". We have to have compassion and realize that yes, every drug addict isn't going to survive their addiction. But that doesn't mean we can stop fighting for them. The war on drugs has to be reevaluted.

  97. The so-called "War on Drugs" has been fueled by fear and ignorance. And it is no more winnable than a war on prostitution. The only policy question I have here is how to fund and quickly bring on line sufficient treatment facilities and professionally trained staff to deal with the demand. Clearly, some of the funding can come from an anticipated decrease in use of (the much more expensive) incarceration as a response to addiction. However, it will take time to develop adequately prepared professional staff.

  98. Kudos to Chief Campnello for his humane touch in dealing with drug addicts. Rather than threatening the addicts, who are already affected both mentally and physically, with charge, which is the usual norm throughout the world, the present attempt by the police officer comes as a whiff of fresh air.

    Drug addicts do not fall under the ambit of crime offenders. Therefore, given an opportunity, there is every chance that they would transform into good citizens and be useful to the society and the country at large. Also, the attempt by the police chief would encourage more and more drug addicts to turn in and get help for rehabilitation. This would clear the society of any danger in future. I hope this model is followed by every police officer.

  99. This is perhaps one of the sanest police officers and chief EVER. He is right. The war on American citizens is a dead end and needs to be stopped in its tracks. More lives are ruined through the arrest and imprisonment process than caused by the drugs themselves.
    As for prosecutors upset they don't have more bodies to throw in prison? GET RID OF THEM. They come across as bought and paid for by the public and private prison industry. After all less prisoners means less profits for all involved. Less prosecutions, less money to the prisons, and less money to the outrageous overtime given to guards.

    The chief should be nationally recognized by our administration.

  100. A number of commenters have written disparagingly about the racist bias this program has (in that non-white offenders have been criminalizes and jailed, but now that the problem is more widespread predominantly white offenders aren't.). I won't discount this point entirely but I will challenge it by the following:
    1) this drug possession/amnesty program seems to be modeled in part on illegal gun amnesty programs, which are primarily targeted at non-white populations.
    2) those people who choose to ask for amnesty are doing this voluntarily and bringing their kits and stashes in to the police station with them, and are not being caught with drugs when they are being stopped/ etc. in the commission of some other crime (that is more than likely a consequence of their addiction.)

    I believe that addiction (including alcoholism) is an illness, but one that can be maintained if treatment options line up, and the addict is ready. It can cause criminal consequences, and there is some measure of control (in that there is some possibility for the addict to complete treatment successfully). If Campanella's seems to be working, allow it to run. The option is open to all addicts. But yes, we should also address the bias.

  101. Thanks to these noble police who listened to their community and provided the safety that their children required. In New England, the police know all about addiction. It is interwoven into the histories of almost all our families. Yes, maybe the names of the substances change, but few of us are untouched by it. In the nineties I worked at a recovery facility for women in Massachusetts and quite a few of the residents had been victimized by police sexually and otherwise during the height of their use. So, I am heartened by this partnership and especially the community "Angels" aspect. This adds an ally to the mix.

  102. I applaud the effort to collaboratively end the death toll of the war on drugs. Punishment of addicts instead of help leaves families in mourning all too often. It's not a magic "fix all" but it does start to address the problem.
    Disruption on the war on drugs will also reduce organized distribution by disrupting demand. This has far reaching improvements on preserving life in countries producing and smuggling drugs where violence takes a toll even as the U.S. demand for the products finds creative ways to be met.
    It's not that, in theory, a war on drugs isn't worth fighting. But we're both losing the war and far too many lives, spanning decades. Surely it's time to reassess and fight wisely while preserving human life and dignity in the process.

  103. i have had many dealings with the Gloucester PD and found the detectives there to be solid, hard working, caring individuals. Top down.

  104. The war on drugs has worked every bit as well as Prohibition. It has been a godsend for criminal gangs in the Americas, Muslim extremists in Afghanistan, and funeral parlors everywhere. For addicts and society at large--not so much.

  105. awesome guy and program! keep up the good work!

  106. This is a great idea which some cops and prosecutors have advocated for decades. I worry that it's only becoming popular now because so many white people in New England are addicted. It should have been instituted for black addicts years ago. The drug treatment courts in GA were designed for black addicts. The jails should be full of violent offenders, not full of addicts.

  107. This article brought tears to my hears, of both sorrow and joy. It is remarkable, commendable and joyous that there is a Police Chief out there fighting for those that are trapped in the deadly cycle of heroin addiction. But, it breaks my heart, both for the addicts and the fact that there are still too many in law enforcement that appear to scoff at it. God bless you, Chief Campanello. You have my great admiration and appreciation. I wish there were more like you. Thank you New Your Times for bringing this out and I can only hope that more and more public figures realize that addiction is a disease that can be addressed and something can be done that truly addresses it and not just throw the addicts in jail. Waste of money, time and lives. One can only hope and pray that your efforts continue to be heard. And that possibly, maybe, someone with the money to spare, like billionaires, dives in head first to contribute to this. I'm praying. Hard.

  108. Drug addicts should never have been sent to jail in the first place!
    We should try to prevent drug addiction by starting an ad campaign even more comprehensive than to the ad campaign that was used against smoking.
    Parents should make their school age children swear never to even try drugs and try to stop their friends from using any drugs.

  109. Finally an intelligent and caring way to deal with drug addiction!!!

  110. Illegal drug use is a life choice with serious, often fatal, consequences. And addicts never stop using; rehab is a waste. If I were in charge of the world, I would simply lock an addict in a room with a store of drug(s) of his/her choice and say use this stuff as much of you want, free of charge, and when you're dead we'll bury you. I have no patience with those who choose addiction, including alcohol and tobacco addiction. Look at that well-muscled young guy in the photo...he should be working to earn a living, but he chose addiction. Bye bye.

  111. How cruel, cold and judgmental. Would you feel the same way if you or one of your loved ones was affected?

  112. Are you for real or just trolling? I really hope you just don't realize how harmful your views are. Harmful to you and others. If you can approach it with an open mind with the intention to learn, I encourage you to watch "The Anonymous People."

  113. @Anne Russell: I hope when you make a mistake or fail at something, you get treated with a bit more compassion and respect than you evince for others.

  114. The Chief's courage in pursuing this strategy may just be a pivot point in the way law enforcement treats addiction, with really profound implications. The right guy in the right place at the right time with a truly visionary idea will change the world. His approach deserves all the support we can give.

  115. For over half a century this 'treat addition as a disease' has been promoted by one faction who have been continuously shouted-down by the other faction's determination to retain the failed 'teat addition as a crime' philosophy. As long as conservatism is in vogue, progressive programs haven't a chance of getting a full try-out at the national level.

  116. When are reporters and editors going to realize that in America being a drug addict, an alcoholic, a vagrant, or a prostitute is NOT a crime and will not land you in jail. The Supreme Court in 1962 decided that "status crimes" were not crimes (cf: Robinson v. California). Selling drugs is a crime and possessing drugs is a crime but using drugs is not a crime. Cops have been sending addicts to rehab for decades and drug courts have been around since the 1970s. Your Gloucester is nice but dog-bites-man stuff and little more.

  117. The only individuals who truly benefit from current drug enforcement policies are the thousands who make money from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the prison-industrial complex.

    With DEA's countless agents and administrators in the Americas, not to mention the clout wealthy prison magnates have in Congress, don't expect more sensible, humane laws any time soon.

    The push-back will be hard and effective.

    I won't be surprised if law enforcement officials like Chief Campanello, who choose to see addiction as a disease rather than a crime and act accordingly, remain rare enough to warrant a front-page article in the New York Times.

  118. Addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease. It's treatable. Perhaps not as successfully as one might like, but on a par with other chronic diseases that require substantial behavioral change, like diabetes and hypertension.

    Unfortunately, many people still don't believe addiction is a disease. That's why science-based education is so important.

    For websites that discuss the science of substance use and abuse in accessible English (how alcohol and drugs work in the brain; how addiction develops; why addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease; what parts of the brain malfunction as a result of substance abuse; how that malfunction skews decision-making and motivation, resulting in addict behaviors; why some get addicted while others don't; how treatment works; how well treatment works; why relapse is common; what family and friends can do; etc.) google addictscience.

  119. addiction is a symptom off an underlying disorder when will the treatment industry that lives on repeat business understand that

  120. Just donated. I'm glad to support this important work and hope others will do so as well!

  121. Such compassion in a time when judgment and punishment are the norm. What a hero.

  122. The doctors who are pushing these heavy duty drugs are responsible for this epidemic of addiction, as they hand out pills like candy. They need take responsibility and stop what they've been doing. Where is the AMA?

  123. I am puzzled by the distinction between addicts and dealers. People have told me that it is not unusual for addicts to do some dealing as a way to be able to afford their own drugs for use. If this is true, I would want to be careful about how we categorize people as patients or criminals, to make sure that we don't end up with disparate treatment for similarly situated addicts, according to criteria that should not be in play, including bias, whether it's conscious or unconscious bias. The distinction looks to me like it could be used as a tool to discriminate. I would also challenge an idea that even addicts dealing on a large scale don't need treatment. Whether they also need something else in the way of rehabilitation, or even punishment, in my opinion should not prevent them from getting treatment for their addiction as a health matter.

  124. First - Addiction is "Baffling, cunning and powerful." Full Stop.
    In the 1980's I worked as a sign language interpreter with an agency that had an medical service. There was a local hospital with a 90 day residential recovery program- primarily alcohol treatment. I "went" through the program with one young man. I would sign the staff's spoken communication to him. He did not use his voice to reply so I read his signs and voiced his meaning to the staff.

    I Heard My Voice Speaking His Truth at many moments of the 90 days. Initially during detox, I heard my voice speaking confusion and making no sense. I heard my voice change as over the weeks as the fog of his addiction started to lift. It is the closest I have come to the experience of drug or alcohol addiction. It is a tough road. It was his journey. I was only his voice…but at the same time I heard my voice.

  125. Is it possible that neither jail nor rehab works? I think maybe making the drugs safer should be a top priority if we really want to help.

  126. I think I see a reality TV series in the making, with a camera crew following the brave cop to watch his encounters with addicts. See him buck the system! See the addicts struggle with their addiction! Will they relapse? Can we please get a close up of the grieving parents?

    The problem with this story was the focus on emotions and personalities and the absence of any hard facts about the treatment programs that are presented as a panacea. What clinical approaches do they use? How long do they last? What kind of follow-up do they provide?

    As for the addicts themselves, we see them scatter to all the points of the compass to their treatment centers, which gets them out of the cops' hair, but we're not given any statistics about their success rates in treatment.

    Yes, we get gut wrenching vignettes about one or two addicts who ended up dead, but there's no empirical information in this piece that would let a reader know whether Mr. Campanello's program really benefits addicts.

    What we do know is that it's gotten him lots of publicity. But that's what reality TV does, isn't it?

  127. I had outpatient inguinal hernia surgery four days ago. I was given 30 Oxycontin pills and a prescription anti-nausea medication because I was extremely nauseous when I took Vicodin four years earlier after an umbilical hernia surgery. (After that previous surgery, most of my post-op "suffering" were a result of the gastrointestinal complications related to taking opioids.) I decided to forgo the painkillers this time and have been treating the post-op pain using over-the-counter Tylenol and Aleve. I feel better than I did after my previous surgery and don't have any of the complications associated with opioids. Why do doctors insist on giving patients SO many pain pills and then scare them with admonitions to "get ahead of the pain" by immediately taking pain pills after surgery?! It's ridiculous and it's clearly time to call the medical profession out and have them rethink their routine recommendations to patients. I'm pretty sure that the majority of today's heroin users are former pain pill addicts who unknowingly became addicted by simply following the doctor's orders. What a travesty! And thank god for people like Chief Campanello.

  128. It is nice to see patients like You Laura.
    I am a general surgeon and do hernia surgery.
    As a physician, I do not promote these medications but almost 99% of the patients require them. Also, there have been cases of malpractice suit for NOT prescribing adequate number of pain pills, patients claiming they suffered.
    Of course we have the drug seekers, too.
    So, it is not as straight forward as one might think.

  129. 1. For what it's worth getting addicted to the med (even if you eventually took all 30 pills) would be about the same as you winning the State Lottery.
    2. you are correct - mild pain after surgery such as yours can be easily managed with NSAIDS. Rarely are opioids necessary.
    3. you should have been told to call for a prescription for stronger pain meds by your surgeon ONLY if you felt it was necessary!

    Disclaimer: I am an MD

  130. This is my city. This is my Police Chief.

    When he began the program, the usual Naysayers around town were saying, "Nay". But they say nay/no to almost anything - development, spending money on public education, almost any form of progressive governance...in fact most of them are the people who said "nay" to bringing on a new Police Chief who was not born or raised here. And they were and are wrong.

    The rest of us said (and are still saying,) "Yes!". And, thank you Chief Campanello (who, incidentally, also stamped out and down the small cadre of people appealing for armed guards and teachers in our schools quite early in his time here, which was brave).

    Glimmers of hope here on Cape Ann, and spreading, for sane and pragmatic policing and governance...despite the (reactionary) odds.

  131. Good. Finally, some change. It's tragic that a flood of overdoses and drug-induced suicides in predominantly white communities finally catalyzed a fundamental, positive change in the treatment of drug addicts. Hopefully this newfound pragmatic attitude to what science has proven to be a public health problem will percolate to the Latino and black inner-city drug addicts who never got this humane treatment and benefit of the doubt from the policing powers-that-be.

    This, here, is a good use of the newfound energies from the "Black LIves Matter" movement--force these new programs on big city police departments. Sift through the data, see what's working in the white communities and force these rehab-centered programs to benefit black and Latino drug addicts. Surely this is a better use of big-city taxpayer money than sending these drug addicts to be subsidized in expensive prisons. And this is the perfect time to do this--the big-city police departments are on the defensive and in desperate need of some good P.R., if you want to be cynical about it.

  132. Growing up in the 70s, I saw lots of rehab clinics as well as ads on tv with phone numbers for free assistance over the phone. AA meeting were not limited to alcohol. methadone clinics were present throughout urban areas. This assistance was colorblind.

    Then came the rockafeller laws. That was when addicts started to go to jail. Made no sense. Over the years the approach to incarcerate started to lose traction; limited in many states to incarnation when a victim was involved, such as robbery.

    The idea of offering rehab is not new, it was put on sabbatical by naive politicians. The same politicians that supported the war on drugs. Again, naive.

    However, I'm tired of the lack of honest reporting. Again, the nt times makes this about racism. It's not about racism, it's about policies put in place without full assessment of root cause. Drug users need help. Most will never stop using, that is a fact. However, if one commits a crime like robbery, murder, or rape they should go to jail.

  133. I would say three cheers for the chief, but three isn't nearly enough. He deserves so much more. I am in awe.

  134. In the article they mention, "Chief Campanello participating on a panel in Chicago"... that was for Chicago Ideas Week, you can watch Chief Campanello's CIW Talk here: https://www.chicagoideas.com/videos/1047.

  135. Chief Campanello should certainly be commended. All should note that now that heroin use has made its way to many white communities, law enforcement officials and residents are looking for alternatives to incarceration. When it was just a problem for poor communities of color, the only solution was jail time.

  136. Unfortunately, this program does not offer methadone maintenance treatment as well as detox. Patients are 8 times more likely to die after detoxing. This is because addicts need a narcotic to feel normal, and so they abuse heroin after detox-- the revolving door that you discuss.

  137. or buprenorphine to get their lives back.

  138. In the 1980s it was racial profiling, harsh sentences and mass incarceration. The drug was called crack. But if you listen to the testimonies before Congress in the 1980s, you will hear many of community activists warn of rural meth (Called "crank" back then) and rural heroin usage approximating or even exceeding crack usage in the inner cities.

    But back in the 1980s illegal drug use had a color and it was black. Now in the 21st century illegal drug use has a new color and it is white. And on cue here come the moves away from harsh sentences and mass incarceration and towards treatment and recovery. Where was this "out-of-the-box" thinking in the 1980s and 1990s when drug use was black?

    In 2013, the University of Alabama had a massive drug bust on campus. Nearly 100 small, medium and big sized users were rounded up and brought up on charges. An overwhelming majority, approaching 90 percent, were white. White, suburban males from all over.

    There was a recent article in The Birmingham News that basically aired the complaints of many of those caught up in this 2013 raid. They were calling the tactics, including students who had been "turned" into undercover informants, unfair, illegal and unconstitutional.

    It was actually a sight to see here in Alabama: Whites calling for fairness from the criminal justice system. A sight to see, just like this snow-white, blindingly-white, article that has somehow met the requirements consciences of the editors at the New York Times.

  139. My son is one of Chief Campanello's 391. After three years of addiction to pills then heroin, I was at the end of my rope with my son. I was out of money, out of favors, out of ideas and quite frankly, I was ready to give up. I thought about suicide for myself. A dozen failed recovery attempts. I didn't think that I could last another day watching my son die and not knowing what else I could do. That afternoon The Gloucester PD posted the first post. I didn't think much about it but kept it in the back of my mind. Then the run began again, he would call needing money and rides and for the first time I told him that the only ride I would give him was to Gloucester, he hung up on me. About an hour later he called and said that he would go. It has been 7 months...7 clean months. My son loves this man, truly loves him. He has heart and compassion. He is a forward thinking person. I am so grateful to this team.

  140. So inspiring. Compassion enlightens mbut its not easy virtue. It's easier to look down on drug addicts because they represent the scariest things that can happen in life. This story hit close to home, especially the story about the young girl who broke her ankle. Like me she had a good job, a nice apt and a what seems a loving family with stability. I broke my ankle a few years ago too and it hurt like hell. I would cry at night in bed from the pain. I clearly remember the orthopedic doctor writing me a script for something strong. he said "if you don't need to use it, then dont"... And I thought. well what the hell is he giving me the script for. I never filled it. but I always wonder what could have happened if I did. I had broken my foot and ankle within a span of 6 months. my mobility was horrible, I gained weight and walked with a limp. I was depressesd. I wonder what those painkillers would have done to me. I don't know what made me not take the pills... And suffer thru the pain some nights and days... but it was the doctors words that still haunt me.. "if you don't need them, then don't take them"...

  141. For over 30 years of police departments across this country have eagerly prosecuted the drug war against poor black Americans. Millions of pretextual stops have been carried out against law abiding black people in hopes of finding illegal drugs that might justify an arrest. Incarceration has been employed with gusto against poor black communities, reaching rates that have scandalized this country before the eyes of the world. Generations of white Republicans have attacked the most modest needle exchange programs in inner cities and rejected efforts to treat addiction as a disease. Blacks are drug addicts because they make bad choices, conservatives insisted. They need a firm hand. Society must be protected from them. More incarceration. More prisons.

    Now suddenly a change brought on not by a re-evaluation of the appalling toll the drug war has taken on poor black communities. No. Only when a majority of addicts in certain jurisdictions are white do we see people deserving of empathy and compassion. Suddenly the police are about the business of helping rather than destroying communities.

    That's where we are as a nation. It takes widespread white drug addiction to make this a problem about human beings rather than " those people."

    What a disgrace.

  142. Why are so many white suburban young people turning to hard narcotics? I think it is because the become disillusioned and self-loathing after they discover that life is more difficult than their family, church or school ever had the nerve or heart to tell them. When your frame of reference is television you have no handle on reality. These kids are simply ill-equipped emotionally and professionally to accept life on its own terms and succeed.

  143. Thank you for this publishing this article. The more we all know about Chief Campanello's efforts, the better equipped we are as a compassionate society to treat the disease of addiction. Chief Campanello has stepped forward with a intelligent and caring response to a dire situation that too many addicts, families and friends are deeply struggling with. The comments of DA Jonathan Blodgett are cowardly and self-serving and stand in stark contrast to the courage and compassion shown by the Gloucester Police and the Cape Ann Community. Rockport, MA

  144. I applaud Chief Campanello and Katharine Seelye for this excellent bit of news. The writing is excellent and the story well told. The compassion felt by both Ms. Seelye and Chief Campanello represent the best in leadership, in journalism and policing, respectively. However, how come it has taken so long for something so sensible to actually be implemented? I believe that I have an answer: privilege versus poverty. How many members of poorer communities across our nation and in our cities have wasted away in jails, which are not the answer, because of addiction? Did people in power, like Ms. Seelye and Chief Campanello, not exist in the poorer communities or did they not feel empowered to act? Was it easier to call addicts criminals and hide them away in our penitentiaries? When will the NYTimes cover this glaring contradiction with more focus? This is a terrible wrong done to those we do not care to see and prefer to demonize. The tragedy is that it cannot be righted. Ms. Seelye and Chief Campanello are making the most noble of efforts.

  145. I believe that Chief Campanello was part of the same Catholic Church I was as a youth, the one that taught compassion despite all its foibles. Unlike the (so-called) "Christians" of today.

  146. As a person who comes from a family of addicts, I whole heartedly respect what Chief Campanello is doing. Drug addiction is an illness and it should be treated as such. I believe that once we as society begins to destigmatize drug addiction the more lives can be saved. And by destigmatize I mean, really seeing your loved one as a person and not just a "junkie". We have to have compassion and realize that yes, every drug addict isn't going to survive their addiction. But that doesn't mean we can stop fighting for them. The war on drugs has to be reevaluted.

  147. The sad thing is this is news. Our political leaders are an embarrassment, our police departments can't be described in polite conversation.

    There is a story on the BBC about our government proclaiming Putin corrupt, while one of the comments listed Hillary's take for speeches to bankers in 2013, by line, it totaled over $3M.

    News flash- pot calls kettle black, possessing drugs other than alcohol is no reason to take someone's freedom and doom them to a short life on the outside of society.

  148. I live in Gloucester and we are all very proud of our Police Chief. In addition to offering recovery possibilities, he has been very active in calling out big pharmaceutical companies for the highly addictive drugs they manufacture and produce in such vast quantities. Many people turn to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription pain medications following surgery and accidents. When their insurance will no longer cover the cost of the drugs, they turn to heroin for relief. Chief Campanello wants these companies to be held accountable.

  149. 'Elizabeth D. Scheibel, a former district attorney for the Northwestern District of Massachusetts in Northampton, raises other questions. “Selective enforcement” of the law, she said, “could well have a disparate impact on the constitutional rights of other offenders.”'

    it sounds like it might be time for new legislation, since interpretation and enforcement of current laws are a fiasco. but please have the intention of making the status quo better, not worse through more punitive, power-hungry measures.

    desperate times call for desperate measures, but maybe legal reforms could make the times and measures less desperate.

  150. This is what it means to protect and serve. Good work by him. I miss more in law enforcement were as visionary.

  151. Thank God for visionaries and people who see beyond the norm. This program should be law across the U.S. Great work Mr. Campanello.

  152. While anyone struggle with drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an imposible goal. However, while even few humanitarian individuals like Chief Campanello have stepped up, recovery is never out of reach. No matter how helpless an adict be, change is indeed posible. Chief Campanella have set a great non- violence example as both a public figure and a law enforcer at the same time !

  153. This article tells the story of Campanello’s drug addict rehabilitation program, it tells of things such as what the program does and how it helps addicts. One interesting statistic found within this article is that more than 400 addicts nationwide have turned themselves in, to programs such as Campanello’s, in an attempt to be rehabilitated. This statistic shows that these programs are not incompetent, but rather highly effective. One may argue saying 400 people is not a lot, however it is 400 more people that have attempted to achieve rehabilitation than would have if they had simply been arrested instead. Due to the fact that 400 people have already turned themselves into programs such as Campanello’s it is clear that Campanello’s method of rehabilitation rather than arrest is more effective than simply arresting drug addicts. Campanello’s method is arguably the most effective way to solve Americas drug addiction problem, by creating more programs such as Campanello’s perhaps one day America will be free of drug addiction.

  154. This innovative program ought to be put in place across the country. Opioid addiction is a frighteningly immense struggle faced by many Americans, and it will take much more ingenuity, innovation, creativity, and determination to tackle this - and far less incarceration. This is not to say that law enforcement isn't important or that prison should never be the answer when addiction is a factor - if someone is selling drugs on a medium or large scale, or if they have committed violent and harmful offenses, then incarceration may well be necessary.
    But for many of the opioid addicts, treatment is the absolute best answer and most beneficial resource. Overall it is likelier to help keep the individual on a clearer future path by avoiding criminal charges; it is far more cost effective than incarcerating someone over and over; and it offers a chance at real, long term change and recovery. Addiction treatment isn't simply getting someone through detox; when done properly it is a way of working on the underlying issues that existed before addiction, and working on repairing the damage addiction has caused. It can be truly transformative.
    I've watched all of this firsthand, both alcoholic and opioid addiction, in my family. It is a truly horrific experience, for both the addict and the people who love him or her. But quality treatment - something of which we have a shortage in the US - is life-changing; in fact it's often life-saving.