A Port in the War on Drugs Storm
In an act of frustration and desperation, the port city of Gloucester Massachusetts Chief of Police announced on his Facebook page that he was no longer going to arrest hard drug addicts and that indeed his police force would now work to help drug addicts get help.
According to this article:
Frustrated, and without any forethought, Campanello added what would turn out to be a propitious statement to that post:
“If you are a user of opiates or heroin, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the City that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.”
The response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Where one of Campanello’s typical posts would collect, perhaps, a dozen ‘likes’ — this post garnered 1,234 likes and,according to the Washington Post,“more views than there were people in the city.”
Obviously, he’d hit on the crux of a problem with the different approach that was sorely needed.
“The war on drugs is over,”Campanello said. “And we lost. There is no way we can arrest our way out of this. We’ve been trying that for 50 years. We’ve been fighting it for 50 years, and the only thing that has happened is heroin has become cheaper and more people are dying[emphasis added]."
The program has been a big success and very popular. With very little cost and an influx of addicts the death rate has fallen noticeably.