In Brattleboro, a New Kind of Police Patrol Offers Addiction Treatment, Not Jail


From “Johnston and Santana are not cops but recovery coaches, helping people climb out of addiction after being there themselves. They were accompanying [Detective Joshua] Lynde as part of a two-year-old effort to connect struggling local residents with drug treatment and other resources, known as Project CARE.

It’s a model that’s catching on. Looking for alternatives to arrest, police departments in Brattleboro and elsewhere are using their 24/7 presence and regular contact with drug users to refer them to treatment. While the details vary, in general, these departments put the word out that just about anyone can walk up to an officer — or into the police station — and ask for help.

. . . Project CARE seeks to connect with people on their own terms and offer help with immediate needs. That could be securing a spot in rehab, transporting them to treatment, handing out the overdose-reversal drug Narcan — or even just mentioning that Turning Point’s downtown location has free coffee and warm places to hang out.”

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