Finally, cops are saving lives.

The Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department, which announced in May that it would no longer be arresting heroin addicts, has taken further steps toward addressing the heroin epidemic in America. 

In early June, the department launched its so called 'angel' program, which focuses on treating heroin and opioid addicts rather than incarcerating them. 

The Associated Press states,

"Heroin and opioid addicts who voluntarily turn themselves in at the station are fast-tracked into treatment services through a team of police officers, volunteers and trained clinicians. They aren't charged with a crime, and much of their treatment cost is covered through public and private insurance, grants by service providers and by police using money seized from drug dealers. They can even hand over drugs and drug paraphernalia to police, no questions asked."

Through the program, addicts are paired with volunteers who will accompany them through treatment and recovery. 

"As of Thursday, police say, 104 addicts turned themselves in seeking help. All have been placed into drug treatment programs at a total cost of about $5,000 to the department. The policy, which experts say is unique in the country, has thrust this city roughly 40 miles north of Boston into the debate over what role police should play in a national heroin epidemic that has hit New England particularly hard."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 8,200 overdose deaths in 2013, quadruple the rate of those reported in 2002. 

"Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Not only are people using heroin, they are also abusing multiple other substances, especially cocaine and prescription opioid painkillers."

It will be interesting to follow Gloucester's efforts and see how and if this program changes those numbers. Hopefully, it will become a successful example for other cities to follow.

What do you guys think of the angel program? 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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