The Bedford and Goffstown Police Departments have joined together in a partnership with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, Phoenix House New England and The Farnum Center to establish a referral program for persons encountered by either department who are suffering with an addiction disorder.
With this new program, officers from both Departments will be trained to identify persons that come to the attention of either Department who are suffering with an addiction problem and to work with them to determine if they are in need of treatment.
Those persons identified by either Department that qualify for the program will be referred to Hope for New Hampshire Recovery who will work with the participating facilities to provide appropriate treatment for them.
“Goffstown and Bedford Police have always shared a close and mutually supportive relationship in times of need for both of our communities. Never more has that need been greater to increase our resources to one another as the State of New Hampshire continues to combat the opioid crisis,” Chief Browne said. “While the City of Manchester carries the heaviest burden of fatal and non-fatal overdoses, the Towns of Goffstown and Bedford are not exempt. There are no fences or barriers between towns and cities. Accordingly, our communities experience challenges as well.”
As has been mentioned again and again, law enforcement and the criminal justice system alone cannot solve this problem, however, police officers are in a unique position to leverage situations that present opportunities to help those who need assistance right now. Law enforcement stands together with our treatment and rehabilitation partners in an effort to stem the tide of this epidemic. Goffstown and Bedford Police are committed to seeking the best possible health solution for people and families in crisis as they try and cure their sickness. We feel this is a common sense approach to providing the best opportunity for success for those in need.”
“We know from experience that people suffering from acute addiction disorders that want to change their lives, but haven’t been able to take that critical and all important first step into treatment for a variety of reasons need assistance, guidance and encouragement at the precise moment when they realize they want help,” Chief Bryfonski said. “In some cases, persons suffering with addiction or their loved ones aren’t sure where to turn or are looking for that one opportunity to encourage them to make the change. Our Police Partners Program is designed to capitalize upon those situations in which a person is brought to the brink of realization that they need help with their addiction.
Because of the nature of their work, police often come into contact with people dealing with the disease of addiction and officers are often present when that window of opportunity exists to help them take the first step toward changing their lives and getting well. Police also know that these windows of opportunity are small and fleeting and so we have to be ready to seize that opportunity when the person is ready to make the change.
In many cases our officers are called to respond to overdoses, families in crisis situations or petty crimes that are simply the manifestation of the person’s underlying problem of addiction,” Chief Bryfonski said. “The Police Partner’s Program is designed to interrupt the cycle of addiction by offering a direct and immediate opportunity for those suffering with addiction to take the first step and our officers will be there to help them.”
“The Police Partners Program is an exemplary collaboration of law enforcement, treatment providers and communities working together to bridge the gap between addiction, wellness and recovery. We are all looking forward to broadening the reach of this program statewide in the coming months,” said Scott Bickford, a Bedford resident and who serves on the Board of Directors for Phoenix House New England.
“Farnum Center commends the Bedford and Goffstown Police Departments for working together with the treatment and recovery community to change the way we address addiction. Farnum Center is pleased to support the efforts of this collaboration. We are truly lucky to have our police departments thinking outside the box, during this difficult time,” said Cheryl Wilkie, Senior Vice President, Farnum Center.
“HOPE for NH Recovery is excited to collaborate with the towns of Bedford and Goffstown by offering peer recovery support services to those individuals seeking recovery from addiction. Peer recovery supports help connect individuals to various types of treatment providers and community supports,” said Cheryl Coletti-Lawson, Board of Directors, HOPE for NH Recovery.
The Goffstown and Bedford Police Departments are confident the Police Partners Program will fill a critical gap that currently exists between law enforcement and treatment-recovery providers. This collaborative and coordinated approach, which links law enforcement with treatment and recovery providers, leverages all facets of the system to efficiently and effectively identify, encourage and assist those suffering with the disease of addiction to get the help they need immediately. It is a fresh start and approach to turning the tide of addiction in our communities and our state.
Contact: John Guilfoil