New project aims to increase addiction recovery | Local News

A two-year project in conjunction with Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals and funded by a grant from the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation will be used to expand the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) model throughout Essex County.

The Lutz grant will help PAARI bring in additional police departments in the county, while expanding its staff to assist these agencies, steer participants into recovery, train officers to use naloxone — the opioid antagonist that reverses overdoses — and assist law enforcement work with addicts, all of which will engage more residents in effective treatment and recovery and improve hospital, police and community collaborations.

“The Lutz grant is by far the largest PAARI has ever received,” said John Rosenthal, co-founder and chairman of PAARI. Referring to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that praised the PAARI program with documented evidence that it has placed more addicts in treatment than any other program to date, he said the grant “ranked right up there with the article as validation of our unique law enforcement access started right here with the Gloucester Police Department.” 

With a total of $185,000 in 2017 and a potential additional $135,000 in 2018 in the form of a challenge grant, the windfall from Lutz, a nonprofit organization supporting medical research and continuing education, will, says Rosenthal, “give us the ability to expand dramatically across Essex County to help our community save lives.”

That help is much needed.

County hard hit

Essex County has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic, with overdose deaths increasing almost five-fold since 2000. A mortality rate of 2 deaths per 10,000 residents has given the county an overdose mortality rate higher than state and national averages — a notoriety Rosenthal calls…

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