Plymouth County’s opioid prevention and recovery coalition will receive a national award next month.
EAST BRIDGEWATER — Police chiefs from around the country believe law enforcement agencies in Plymouth County are on the front lines of combating opioid use.
Plymouth County Outreach, an opioid prevention and recovery coalition, will be recognized next month by the International Association of Chiefs of Police with a leadership in community policing award.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized for our collaborative efforts in helping to bring awareness and resources to those suffering from substance use disorders in our region,” said East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen.
Allen, along with Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri, who are both national law enforcement council members with the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, are the co-chairmen for the Plymouth County Drug Task Force. The task force, which brings law enforcement, doctors, educators, clergy and substance use experts together, is led by District Attorney Timothy Cruz and Sheriff Joseph McDonald.
“Our nearly 500,000 residents know that wherever they are in Plymouth County, they will find a team of compassionate and caring law enforcement officers, healthcare and recovery specialists and community leaders who are looking to offer assistance and support to those struggling with opioid use, as well as their family members and loved ones,” Allen said.
Plymouth County Outreach was created to respond to the increasing number of opiate overdoses by conducting followup visits between 12 and 24 hours after an overdose. After a person overdoses in one of the 27 participating communities, a Project Outreach team of plainclothes officers, a licensed clinician and a recovery coach conduct an in-home visit to provide resources and support to those struggling with a substance use disorder, as well as their family members. The team can also help get people into treatment.
The coalition also holds drop-in centers at various sites across the county each week. Health care providers who help with treatment options and train and distribute the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, also known as Narcan, are at the drop-in events.
“The fact that all of these professional partners from such a large variety of agencies and levels of care are engaging in this healthcare model truly shows that PCO is a community solution to a community problem,” Botieri said.
Chiefs Allen and Botieri have also been invited to present at national conferences in Bedford, Washington, D.C. and Cleveland, Ohio.
The community policing award will be presented during the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual conference and exposition in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 9.