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Police release action plan to address addiction in Arlington

ACTS logo

First community meeting held at Highrock

UPDATED, Aug. 4: Police Chief Frederick Ryan has released further details about Arlington's community-based strategy to address addiction. Its two key components are:

1. Active outreach to known addicts: The department's health clinician will reach out to support them in developing a plan to ensure their survival, to facilitate the long-term process of recovery and to guide addicts and their loved ones to services; and

2. Arlington Community Training and Support -- ACTS, for short: Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 4, Arlington is the host for a series of town-based meetings, co-facilitated by the police department’s clinician and a community expert on substance-abuse intervention, in a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for addicts and their families.

To download the program materials for the Arlington Outreach Initiative, click here >> 

On June 29, the chief outlined his approach to selectmen, and in July, the outreach began

First meeting Tuesday

Arlington ACTS held its first meeting with guest speakers from the Cambridge Needle Exchange and Wicked Sober on Aug. 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 731 Mass. Ave., the building next to Highrock Church (enter through back door).

Expected to be present was Erin Cheek from the needle exchange to train and pass out free doses of Narcan to attendees. There was free training and distribution of nasal Naloxone doses by a certified trainer.

As the program progresses, police plan to use a curriculum based on the Community Reinforcement and Family Training, which teaches the use of scientifically validated behavioral principals to reduce a person's substance use and encourage him or her to seek treatment.

Also attending was to be Mike Duggan, the Arlington High School graduate who started Wicked Sober, to provide resources for treatment.

RSVP to Rebecca Wolfe at 781-316-3947 or rwolfe[at] This can be anonymous, and you may leave your initials or an alias.

The meeting was not open to the media, Capt. Richard Flynn told YourArlington on Aug. 3.

Aims to change how police respond

"We know we need to alter the way we respond to addiction in our community," Chief Ryan said in a news release Monday, Aug. 3. "With this plan of action, we have established a clear plan that will guide this department in helping." 
Participants in this program will have access to:

• Outpatient levels of care

• Inpatient/medical detoxification programs

• Resources for family support

• Mental health professionals

• A certified substance abuse interventionist.

• On-site training on the proper use of nasal Naloxone.

• Dispensing of nasal Naloxone to addicts and their friends and family

• Veterans services personnel.

National partner

Police are also partnering with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) to help addicts by offering information and advice at no cost and assisting people in locating treatment centers for recovery, using both organizations' large networks of qualified treatment centers across the country.

All pertinent data from Arlington ACTS and the Initiative's partnerships will be collected, including:

• Raw numbers of persons served by the program (without identifying the person)

• Number of people trained in the delivery of Naloxone.

• Number of doses of Naloxone dispensed.

• Number of people who enroll in outpatient programming.

• Number of people admitted to inpatient programs.

• Number of referrals to veterans services.

Data has been tracked from July 1, and a comparative analysis will be made to historical data related to heroin overdoses in the community (fatal and nonfatal).

"With this information, we will be able to better understand the needs of our residents struggling with the disease of addiction," Ryan said in the release. "A year from now we will have a much clearer picture of the impact of our efforts and how we can tailor our recovery initiatives moving forward."

While not identical, The Arlington Outreach Initiative is inspired by the Gloucester Police Department ANGEL Initiative, created by Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello. Gloucester's Initiative allows people who suffer from addiction to turn over their remaining drug supply and paraphernalia to the Gloucester Police Department without the threat of arrest and then fast-tracks the participant into a treatment center.

July 10, 2015: Town police begin reaching out to addicts

This annoucement was published Monday, July 20, 2015, and updated Aug. 04, to highlight meeting.

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