Archived News Releases

Contact:  Chief Jody D. Kasper                                                                                                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Telephone:  413-587-1100

DART Officers Target Substance Abusers and Family Members

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts (February 29, 2016)-  In early February, 2016, the Northampton Police Department, in conjunction with Hampshire HOPE, launched a new program with a goal of connecting high risk substance abusers with local resources.  The department selected three patrol officers who volunteered to take on the additional duty of working as Drug Abuse Response Team (DART) Officers.   DART Officers Adam Van Buskirk, Monica Czerwinski, and Justin Hooten began this initiative earlier this month.

The DART officers attended a meeting with representatives from local resources including On-Call Healthy Living Program, Mercy Behavioral Health Care, Clinical Support Options, Tapestry Health, and Hampshire HOPE.  The officers have a working knowledge of the resources that are available to individuals who are at high risk.  They review the police log and identify individuals who have recently overdosed, who have engaged in criminal activity due to their addiction, or who are otherwise known to be at high risk due to addiction.  DART Officers will work to locate the individual and will communicate with them about treatment resources that are available in the area.  In some cases the officers may drive them to a local medical treatment facility.  DART Officers will conduct follow-up with these individuals over time.

In addition to working with individuals who are addicted, DART Officers may also speak with friends or family members who are home and who are struggling with managing their loved one’s addiction.  Resources for friends and family members will be provided, including how to access free Nalaxone (also known as Narcan) and how to receive a quick training on the use of Naloxone.

Northampton Police and Northampton Fire Rescue responded to  fifteen drug overdoses in the first two months of 2016.  Anyone witnessing an overdose should call 911 immediately, administer Naloxone (Narcan) if available, and stay with the person.  Members of the community should be reminded that the “Good Samaritan Law” ensures that those who call 911 to report an overdose for themselves or others will not be charged with the possession or use of opiates. The Northampton Police Department is committed to best serving all of our citizens.  We recognize that narcotics addiction is a disease.  We further recognize that attempting to provide intervention when people are at high risk is an important strategy to combat this epidemic and ultimately, to save lives.