In the fall of 2015, the Montpelier Police Chief, along with Deborah Hopkins of Central Vermont Substance Abuse Services (CVSAS) and Ann Gilbert from Central Vermont New Directions (CVNDC) gave a presentation to the Montpelier City Council outlining the criminal and health impacts of heroin addiction in the Central Vermont Region. One of the needs identified for the council was a follow-up public forum on the area's drug problem.
On Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 6:30 PM, the police department along with its treatment and prevention partners will be hosting a community forum in the auditorium of the Montpelier High School. This forum will provide an overview of the health and crime issues related to drug addiction along with explanations of current and future responses to this complex crisis.
Key to this presentation will be the departments' strategic crime reduction plan that will focus on directly engaging individuals willing to get treatment with appropriate medical services. This joint effort will be referred to as "Project Safe Catch," which is a partnership between the MPD and CVSAS--with proposed support from Washington County Mental Health, Central VT Addiction Medicine, and the Emergency Department at the Central Vermont Medical Center. "Project Safe Catch" is partially modeled after Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello's initiative of getting drug users immediately to treatment instead of arresting them (see www.paariusa.org. for more information on the Gloucester "Angels" program). The core of "Project Safe Catch" is to connect addicts with the vital support they need--beginning the treatment process with the ultimate goal of recovery.
This effort is supported by Washington County State's Attorney Scott Williams, the United States Attorney's Office, and Washington County police chiefs and commanders. Several community organizations and stakeholders will be present at this forum to answer questions, provide information, and to identify resources.