Meet The Police Officer Who Has Helped 109 Drug Addicts Fully Recover In The US


A police officer from the state of Massachusetts has reportedly saved 109 drug addicts from perishing, and is now leading a new revolution in the fight against drugs across the United States.

The Free Thought Project has stated that Police Chief Leonard Campanello, from the relatively small town of Gloucester, became frustrated at the rate of drug violence and the related deaths police departments across the US have been involved in and decided to start his own initiative in dealing with the problem.

It is said that the Gloucester Police Department (GPD) experienced its fourth heroin death in three months, and Campanello realized that police violence was not the way to deal with the problem.

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“The war on drugs is over 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,” Campanello said in an interview.

Being passionate about solving the problem, Campanello is then said to have gotten in touch with the local mayor and began the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI).

His main objective with the formation of PAARI was to help drug addicts instead of locking them up in prisons like the other police departments do nationwide.

“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,” Campanello is said to have written on his Facebook page when he founded PAARI in March, 2015.

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Furthermore, he provided more details about the program with this statement: “Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an ‘angel’ who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot.”

His posts were said to have gone viral on social media and were shared over 30,000 times. Today, the result is that the GPD via the PAARI program have helped 109 addicts who are now living a normal life.

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News of Campanello’s initiative is said to be spreading like a bush fire. Three cities in Massachusetts are said to be preparing to start similar program, as well as two other cities in Illinois.

His initiative has brought back the old argument of decriminalization of drugs across the US. Using Portugal as a classic example for decriminalizing drugs back in 2001 with positive results. The Free Thought Project said the idea of treating an addict with compassion instead of violence will be a revolutionary action in the US.

Police Chief Leonard Campanello confers with Joan Whitney, director of the Healthy Gloucester Collaborative, at his office in Gloucester, Mass., Monday, June 1, 2015. Gloucester Police are launching a new program this week, promising heroin addicts they won't be arrested if they bring their drugs to the police station. Chief Campanello says instead, addicts will be given help. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, around 6,000 people die every year from heroin overdoses. Many experts in the field agree that most of these overdoses are caused by a problem of impurities, due to the nature of the black market.

Activists have said that despite the war on drugs being an abject failure in the US, police departments across the country continue to support it by lobbying  congress for stricter drug laws, and people like Campanello face persecution in the eyes of police.

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