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Norwood police publish plan to combat heroin, prescription drug abuse

Posted by Natalie Feulner  August 27, 2012 03:51 PM

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The Norwood Police Department has a plan for “combating the abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers” and it's laid out in a strategy document published this month.

According to police, the document was distributed to all police personnel and has been posted on the department’s website for the public to view.

“The Norwood Police Department shares its strategy with the public in a spirit of candor - and because we need everyone’s help,” Police Chief William Brooks said in a statement.

It outlines the challenge that Norwood and many other communities have faced in dealing with drug dependence, particularly for heroin and prescription opioids.

“We are not alone; law enforcement and public health officials consider heroin and opioid abuse in New England to be the region’s most significant drug threat,” the document states.

Just last Friday, Norwood police arrested two alleged drug dealers in separate incidents, and last month a dealer wanted for selling not just in Norwood but in other surrounding communities was arrested and charged.

The department’s objective is to arrest the dealers, help landlords evict them, leverage addicts into treatment, and educate the public. Through that, police hope to reduce the number of people who use heroin and abuse prescription opioids.

So, they’ve developed a multifaceted plan based around the principles of the New York City Police Department’s “Compstat Approach.”

First, the department will use an “intelligence-led” policing strategy including the deployment of officers in marked and unmarked cars, on foot, on bicycle, in uniform, and in plainclothes.

In addition, officers will work on communication with the community. Through its website and social media sites, the Norwood police hope to exchange information with the public about everything from drug strategy to options for treatment.

The website has pages of information for landlords, residents who need to dispose of drugs and syringes, and information for healthcare professionals.

Finally, the department wants to measure its success through “relentless follow-up and assessment."

“Statistics will be hard to come by, but the tracking of data about the arrest and removal of dealers from our neighborhoods combined with assessments of addicts … should provide the department with empirical data that will continue to influence our strategy,” the document said.

Natalie Feulner can be reached at natalie.feulner@gmail.com.

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