January 17 2018

New Initiative to Help Those Struggling With Addiction Showing Results


A new program to fight the opioid epidemic and help those fighting addiction spearheaded by the Burlington Police Department is showing positive results, a release from the department states.


“Just two months after enhancing its drug recovery efforts through its Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.)/AmeriCorps Unit, the Burlington Police Department is already reporting meaningful results,” the release says.


According to police, since Program Coordinator Margie Taylor and Recovery Coach Jackie Tayabji, two AmeriCorps members, joined the Burlington Police Department last fall, they have reached more than 53 individuals suffering from substance use disorder -- or their family members -- and linked each one with critical resources.


They've also placed an emphasis on supporting the loved ones of those battling addiction to ensure they have the help they need to overcome the challenges they face as a result of their family members' drug use.


Together, the release states, Taylor and Tayabji comprise Burlington’s P.A.A.R.I./AmeriCorps Unit, which works closely with Burlington Police Officer Robert Aloisi to combat substance abuse disorders and the current nationwide opioid crisis on a local level.


“Taylor and Tayabji's early success with the program is due in large part to the strong partnership they have formed with the police department, as well as the broad support of the community at large and organizations that are committed to helping them accomplish their mission,” the release states.


"Forging relationships within the community is essential, as there is always power in numbers, and we can accomplish so much more when the all of the stakeholders are addressing this issue together," Taylor said. "We have already seen how these relationships have opened the lines of communication among numerous stakeholders."


Several organizations have became part of the recovery team's efforts, including the Burlington Fire Department, Burlington Overcoming Addiction, the Board of Selectmen, Council on Aging, Rotary Club, Burlington Schools, Learn to Cope, Lahey Health and the Town Administrator’s office.


The recovery team has directed eight people into treatment, though their work does not end when a person enters a recovery program.


"Our goal as recovery coaches is to be a support system for the person pursuing treatment through their entire continuum of care," Taylor said. "We want to provide support for the individual from the very start and help guide them along their journey so we can assist them with tackling any issues or barriers that could prevent a smooth path to recovery."


Taylor and Tayabji's contributions to the Burlington Police Department have been made possible by an AmeriCorps grant administered through P.A.A.R.I.


"We're excited about the potential this program holds in allowing us to approach this significant issue from a new angle," Chief Michael Kent said. "Jackie and Margie have already made tremendous inroads within our community and I couldn't be happier about the impact they're having on those in need."


The Burlington community has bought into the work the recovery unit is doing, and has significantly eased the work of building essential partnerships that have helped the program thrive in a short period of time, the release states.


"We have had the full support of the entire community and have been welcomed with open arms," Tayabji said. "We could not be successful without the backing and collaboration we have received from our Burlington Police partners, and we're grateful for their commitment to making a difference and helping those struggling with substance abuse issues."


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