John Rosenthal, Co-founder & Chairman
186 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
P.A.A.R.I. Brings on Former Gloucester Angel Participant as New Care Advocate and Outreach Coordinator
GLOUCESTER — John Rosenthal, co-founder and chairman of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), and Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade are pleased to announce that Steve Lesnikoski — the first person to go through the Gloucester Angel Initiative — is P.A.A.R.I.’s new Care Advocate and Outreach Coordinator.
Lesnikoski stepped into his new role on Sept. 11. His position is made possible through P.A.A.R.I.’s two-year project funded by a grant from the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation.
“Steve’s journey, first with the Gloucester Angel Program and then P.A.A.R.I., has really brought him full circle,” Rosenthal said. “We hope every participant who has gone through an opioid recovery program can be as successful as Steve has been. We’re pleased to have him working full-time with P.A.A.R.I. assisting others like him who are trying to overcome substance abuse disorders.”
The partnership with the Lutz Foundation enables P.A.A.R.I. to collaborate with additional police departments in Essex County while expanding its staff to assist these agencies, as well as individuals seeking treatment.
As a Care Advocate and Outreach Coordinator, Lesnikoski will work with law enforcement agencies to prevent opioid overdose deaths, engage more residents in effective treatment and recovery from substance use disorders, and improve coordination among hospitals, police and communities. His focus will be centered on police departments in the Beverly Hospital service area.
Lesnikoski previously worked at Eliot Community Human Services in Lynn, where he was a Peer Specialist in the Emergency Services Program. His role included assisting and providing aftercare follow up on post-overdose calls through Eliot’s Jail Diversion Program located in the Lynn Police Department.
In 2015, Lesnikoski reached out to the Gloucester Police Department, following the launch of its Angel Program, seeking help recovering from his opioid addiction. Since then, he has remained committed to assisting others through his work with P.A.A.R.I., first as a volunteer and then as an intern.
In March, Lesnikoski joined P.A.A.R.I. members in Washington to participate in the Senate Round Table to discuss steps leaders can take to address the nation’s opioid epidemic. Most recently, Lesnikoski joined Hunter McDade in Ohio to speak at a law enforcement-led rally on opioids.
“Over the last year, Steve has provided invaluable insight to P.A.A.R.I. and has positively impacted the lives of so many with his inspiring story,” Hunter McDade said. “We’re so pleased and thankful to be working with the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation so that we can increase Steve’s presence and impact in Essex County.”
Lesnikoski is currently attending North Shore Community College, where he’s working to obtain an associate’s degree in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. He has been sober for more than two years.
To contact Lesnikoski, email him at [email protected] or call him at (888) 9-PAARI-9 ex. 705.