Paul A. Nikas, Chief of Police
15 Elm St.
Ipswich, MA 01938
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Ipswich Police Department Partners With P.A.A.R.I. and Lutz Foundation to Add Part-Time Recovery Coach
IPSWICH — Chief Paul A. Nikas is pleased to announce that the Ipswich Police Department has received a grant from the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) through the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation to add a part-time recovery coach to the department’s ranks.
Steve Lesnikoski was the first person to enroll in the Gloucester Police’s groundbreaking ANGEL Program, which directs those battling addiction into treatment rather than the criminal justice system. He will spend each Monday in Ipswich conducting outreach to families and individuals dealing with addiction. He joined the Ipswich Police Department in his new role on Dec. 4.
Lesnikoski will help enhance the Ipswich Police Department’s capacity to assist those suffering from substance use disorders by connecting them to treatment and recovery services that divert them from the criminal justice system. His role with Ipswich Police comes in addition to the work he’s done with other law enforcement agencies in Essex County, where he’s focused on preventing overdose deaths and providing life-saving resources to community members with substance use disorders.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to further connect with the people in our community who need our help the most, and I’m excited about Steve joining us and serving as a huge resource for those who are working to overcome their addiction,” Chief Nikas said. “We’re grateful for the support of P.A.A.R.I. and the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation, and we look forward to the positive impact this program will have in town.”
P.A.A.R.I. partnered with the Lutz Foundation in July on a project meant to expand its outreach and impact in Essex County, placing Lesnikoski with multiple law enforcement agencies, now including the Ipswich Police Department. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2012 to 2014, an average of 426 people died annually in Essex County due to drug overdoses, with projections for continuing increases indicated in 2015 and 2016. Essex County has a drug overdose mortality rate of two deaths per 10,000 residents, which is higher than both state and national averages.
“Steve Lesnikoski is living proof of the power that police-based addiction and recovery programs have to springboard people into long-term recovery and alter the course of their lives,” said P.A.A.R.I. Executive Director Allie Hunter McDade. “Steve has intimate knowledge of the challenges facing those battling addiction, and he will provide critical guidance to those in the Ipswich community that need support.”
The new partnership with P.A.A.R.I. and the Lutz Foundation bolsters the department’s existing efforts to fight opioid addiction, which include running Operation HOPE (Heroin Opiate Prevention Effort), its active participation in Ipswich AWARE and its ongoing DARE program in Ipswich schools.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to help law enforcement agencies establish pre-arrest programs that create immediate and stigma-free entry points to treatment and recovery programs. P.A.A.R.I. works across sectors to provide training, coaching, and support; program models, policies and procedures, and templates; seed grants; connections to over 300 vetted treatment centers; a network of like-minded law enforcement agencies; a unified voice with media and legislators; and capacity building through AmeriCorps. P.A.A.R.I. is free to join and open to any law enforcement agency that believes in treatment over arrest and views addiction as a disease not a crime. Since June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has launched more than 320 law enforcement programs in 31 states, distributed 10,000 4mg doses of life-saving nasal naloxone, and helped over 12,000 people into treatment.