NEWBURYPORT – Mayor Donna D. Holaday is pleased to announce that the United States Department of Justice has awarded the City of Newburyport a $600,000 grant to support a regional program working to address opioid use in Essex County.
In 2017, the Newburyport Police Department organized the Essex County Outreach (ECO) program, which works with local police departments and treatment specialists to reduce opioid abuse in the area. The $600,000 grant will support the continuation of the program, and will also help expand the initiative to enhance service to those battling addiction.
The ECO Program, consisting of 34 police departments in Essex County that recognize an overdose or high risk individual in their jurisdiction, established and maintains outreach teams in each of the participating communities. Each team includes counselors, treatment professionals, recovery coaches and at least one police officer with legal jurisdiction over cases of overdoses in the community. Participating police departments are asked to implement an established overdose intervention program, submit reporting information to a county-wide database and assign at least one officer to the outreach follow-up team.
In addition to joining the follow-up teams, treatment and recovery professional organizations and medical facilities are asked to be placed on an “on-call” list for placing prospective clients seeking in-patient treatment and to attend quarterly meetings.
In addition, the Essex County Sherriff’s Office has committed to notify police departments when a county inmate diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder is being released into the community, and provide support to the outreach teams through its various opioid use programs.
Newburyport Police Marshal Mark Murray assigned Police Inspector Dani Sinclair as the lead officer for the ECO program, and she has been working on this effort for over a year.
“This program would not be coming to fruition without her dedication and perseverance,” Marshal Murray said.
The $600,000 grant will support the creation of an outreach team to provide follow up visits and subsequent treatment for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder.
“I am pleased to see that our Police Department’s and Inspector Sinclair’s efforts have been recognized and federal funding has been made available to allow us to really tackle the opioid epidemic which has devastated far too many lives in our both our community and greater Essex County,” Mayor Holaday said. “We are also fortunate that Congressman Moulton’s office was able to assist us in getting this application submitted and supports our efforts to address the opioid epidemic in Essex County.”
“It’s hard to talk about addiction, but it touches almost everybody in our country–whether we know someone who is wrestling with addiction, or we know someone who has lost a loved one to an overdose,” Rep. South Moulton said. “I’m going to keep fighting for better mental health care and more resources like these so we can confront this public health emergency.”
The Newburyport Police Department is interested in community involvement and any relevant events or meetings that would be appropriate for those dealing with issues and their families and loved ones. Residents are encouraged to “like” Essex County Outreach on Facebook and share their input on how the program can most effectively serve the communities in the county.