For Immediate Release - February 09, 2016

DA Blodgett Lauds Governor Baker for Grant Award

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett today thanked Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito for awarding a Heroin and Opioid Crime Reduction State Initiative grant to his office.  DA Blodgett was notified late last week that his office will receive $145,743 in state funds to expand the Essex County Adult Drug Diversion Program.  The program, which started in 2007, offers certain non-violent offenders the opportunity to receive drug treatment in lieu of prosecution.

“The Essex County Adult Drug Diversion program received this grant because of their innovative and compassionate approach to assisting drug-addicted offenders and because of DA Blodgett’s long-standing commitment to address the devastating effects of the addiction crisis, which has ruined and taken so many lives,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett.

“The drug diversion program is a proven approach that provides non-violent offenders with a highly-structured and closely-supervised treatment plan in lieu of prosecution,” DA Blodgett said.  “Working with our partners at Bridgewell/Project COPE in Lynn, we have been able to divert hundreds of people out of the criminal justice system and into individually designed long-term treatment programs.”

In its application, the Essex District Attorney’s Office proposed expanding staff in the Lawrence District Court, “to accommodate the growing numbers of young people traveling into the city of Lawrence from many New England states to purchase heroin and subsequently being charged with the possession of heroin.”

The grant will also fund a Peer Support Specialist position with Bridgewell/Project COPE to provide additional support to clients in maintaining long-term sobriety and recovery. 

“Bridgewell and Project COPE have decades of experience supporting and treating people who are suffering from addiction,” DA Blodgett said.  “I am pleased that, with this grant, we are able to enhance the support and long-term assistance that our diversion clients will receive from them.”

“We are proud to partner with DA Blodgett on this important initiative to steer individuals suffering from addiction toward treatment instead of incarceration,” said Mark Kennard, Executive Director of Bridgewell/Project COPE.  “This grant is recognition that our efforts are making a difference and we look forward to expanding this critical tool in the fight against the opioid crisis.”