More than 100 people have taken up a Massachusetts police department’s offer to get help instead of being arrested for giving up heroin.
Chief of Police Leonard Campanello started the program in June, and as of last week, 109 addicts, including 16 from out of state, had gone to his police station to get help.
The department is paying for drug treatment for addicts with money that was taken from drug dealers.
So far, they have spent $5,000 on drug treatment for people who would have been locked up just for using heroin.
The police in Gloucester have also been working with local pharmacies to offer cheap naloxone, a drug that can save lives if it is given right away to someone who has overdosed.
Campanello says that the new plan is “the next step in the so-called war on drugs.” Other cities are looking at it.
A new nonprofit group has been set up in Gloucester to spread the local model to other police departments around the country.
Some Seattle police officers have also been given the power to choose drug treatment over arrest and jail for low-level drug users.