Editors Note: Occasionally Letters to the Editor are placed on the online Edition. Below is the letter that appears on today's Viewpoints page.
In the first week of December a group of panelists led by myself on behalf of Opportunities for Chenango presented a program about drug abuse in our communities at Guernsey Memorial Library. We were pleased that we attracted a standing room only crowd. Obviously many are concerned with the current state of affairs and increased drug activity.
Subsequently, I have met with Senator Akshar along with others from Broome and Chenango County and he has asked us to continue to be on his drug advisory panel. Another exciting new program that will soon debut in Chenango County via the Oxford Police Department is something called the PAARI program. PAARI stands for The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative. The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative is a nonprofit organization that began in Gloucester, Massachusetts. They assist other police departments to implement similar programs, and to foster a dialogue around the unique opportunity for police departments to take direct action against the disease of drug addiction in their communities.
Oxford’s Police Department is the first in Chenango County to step forward and start a PAARI program. Addicts will be able to show up at the Oxford station, turn in any drugs on their person without risk of arrest and request treatment. As long as there is no arrest warrant attached to the individual the police will begin a search of up to 200 drug rehabilitation in their database to find a treatment bed. While the search is going on, an “Angel” will be called to come to the station and keep the addict company, to sit and talk, to watch TV, or play video games, in a room designed for comfort. The goal is to get the individual placed in treatment that same day, however, there may be up to a three day delay; in which case the addicted person will be taken to a partner facility to detox and wait for a long term treatment bed.
If you are interested in becoming an “Angel” there will be training on Saturday, February 27 from 9am-1pm in the Oxford High School Cafeteria at 50 South Washington Street. There is no advance sign up required, just show up and learn how you can help.
For more information on this event and many others go to Truth Pharm on Facebook and “like” their page. Truth Pharm was begun as a grassroots organization by a dynamic mother Alexis Pleus who lost her beloved son to a heroin overdose and decided enough is enough; she could no longer sit back and watch others die. She has put her engineering job on hold to dedicate herself to keeping other good people with the illness of addiction alive.
Please consider coming to the training on the 27th. It’s imperative that we band together so that our voices will be heard.
Opportunities for Chenango