Jun 1, 2016 7:29 PM

Police departments, hospitals starting addiction recovery program on Seacoast

PORTSMOUTH - In response to New Hampshire’s heroin and opioid crisis - a new program is launching on the Seacoast. The goal is to encourage those who are struggling with substance abuse and are seeking help to access recovery.

It's the last place most addicts would think they can go - a police department.

The program is called Community Access to Recovery.

Police departments, hospitals and recovery coaches are all working together to get people into treatment.

“We're kind of the hub to make sure that they get pointed in the right direction,” Portsmouth Police Sgt. Dave Keavany said.

Six Seacoast police departments in New Hampshire and Maine who are fed up with the addiction crisis are opening their doors.

“That there's people out there that are willing to listen to hem there's people out there that are out there willing to hear their story and try to get them help,” Keavany said.

At the department those seeking help will get an evaluation and a ride to a hospital where they will meet a coach to talk about treatment options.

“When a police officer calls a treatment center calls and says they are ready they are motivated, like how motivated to you have to be to call the police and ask for help?” PAARI co-founder John Rosenthal said.

It's based off the Gloucester Angel program.

One year ago today, the chief there decided arrests weren't slowing overdoses. And since, all 450 people who've gone to Gloucester police were placed in treatment.

120 other police departments nationwide are taking similar approaches.

Kristina Goodwin said this program will save lives. Her brother was trying to navigate treatment options and was on a waiting list when he died of an overdose.

"It's imperative that as a community that we ensure multiple pathways are available so those who are seeking a life in recovery are offered multitude of options on how to get there,” Goodwin said.

Safe Haven is asking for support - for anyone who is willing to hang fliers or donate and even people willing to train to be a recovery coach.

“There's a lot of good people that are looking to help, and now we finally have a name and a collaborative effort to do that so we can all work together,” Keavany said.

Participating police departments will officially open their doors for this program July 6.

In the meantime, hospitals and the state hotline are open 24/7.

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