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January 25, 2021
PAARI Gets $149K for Test Kits, Referrals, and Related Services

December 25, 2020 — The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, a Boston-based national nonprofit that supports law enforcement agencies in creating non-arrest pathways to treatment for drug abusers, this week announced it received a $149,173 grant for test kits and referral services.

The grant, from the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the University of Baltimore, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will support a partnership between the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) and Brandeis University.

Specifically, it will support PAARI’s One2One: Engagement to Recovery initiative, which empowers police officers and community partners to distribute fentanyl test strip (FTS) kits to those in need, as well as provide referrals to treatment and information about other resources available to those who use drugs and their loved ones.

One2One is a police-led intervention project across Massachusetts and Maine which seeks to increase engagement in substance use related services and supports among people using stimulants and opioids who are at risk of fatal overdose.

“Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug that can often be used unintentionally by people under the impression they’re consuming another drug,” said John Rosenthal. PAARI co-founder and board chair. “This program will help prevent fentanyl overdose by ensuring people who are using drugs are aware of its presence and, just as importantly, will serve as a way for police and community partners to connect with these individuals and link them to resources to support their recovery.”

PAARI and Brandeis together are among eight recipients of grants focused on reducing overdose deaths through the CDC’s Combating Opioid Overdose through Community-Level Intervention grant program.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity build upon the early successes of this initiative by equipping more of our police and community partners with proven strategies and an innovative tool to connect with and support people who suffer from substance use disorder,” said Allie Hunter, executive director of PAARI. “Amid COVID-19, people with substance use disorders are more vulnerable than ever, and overdoses are on the rise in many communities. Police efforts to respond to overdoses and provide pathways to treatment and recovery have never been more important.”

Through the program, PAARI will provide training for officers and community partners on how to distribute the FTS kits and provide access to resources in up to 12 communities in Massachusetts and Maine.

To date, nine communities have elected to participate. PAARI will provide FTS kits and train police officers and community partners on how to distribute the FTS kits and offer referrals, share information about relevant services, and provide other selected tools to kit recipients.

Established in 2015, PAARI currently works with more than 500 police departments in 35 states, including 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts. Its goal is to have non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, leading to fewer overdose deaths, expanded access to treatment, improved public safety, less crime, and increased trust between law enforcement and their communities. Its effort have placed more than 24,000 people into treatment since its founding.

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