- Governor Charlie Baker | Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
- Daniel Bennett, EOPSS Secretary
- Governor's Press Office
- Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration and Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office Announce Treatment and Diversion Partnership Pilot for Low Level Substance Misuse Offenses
Brendan Moss, Press Secretary, Governor's Office
QUINCY — The Baker-Polito Administration and Executive Office of Public Safety today announced an award of $99,000 and a partnership with the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office to pilot an innovative new approach to tackle the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing Massachusetts cities and towns. The “Buyer Diversion Treatment Alternative” (BDTA) program is designed to divert lower level offenders arrested for purchasing narcotics from a dealer under law enforcement surveillance away from the criminal justice system and into treatment and recovery options. In September the administration announced a similar partnership with the City of Worcester Police Department and the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
“Our Administration continues to pursue prevention, treatment and recovery programming for Massachusetts families and local law enforcement facing the opioid and heroin epidemic,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to partnering with our colleagues in Norfolk County to support individuals struggling with substance misuse by diverting them into programs that reduce the barriers to conquering addiction.”
“The severe nature of the opioid crisis challenges us all to develop different and innovative approaches to law enforcement and substance misuse issues,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Offering individuals suffering from addiction an alternative path to treatment and recovery will help empower them to change their own lives as the criminal justice system focuses on more serious crimes in our communities.”
“Each day they’re on patrol, police officers see firsthand the destruction wrought by the opioid crisis,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Dan Bennett. “This program is unique because it gives the police a mechanism to redirect drug buyers toward treatment so that they can break the cycle of addiction.”
Eligibility for the BDTA program will be based on individuals meeting certain criteria as determined by the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with local police departments.
The funds will allow the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office to engage a Licensed Clinician from Bay State Community Services who will provide clinical assessments, personalized treatment plans and intensive wrap around services for the program participants and funds for a part time Program Coordinator to manage the daily operations and communication flow between Bay State Community Services; the Braintree, Randolph, Quincy and Weymouth Police Departments, and the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office.
“We have been assembling programs to counter the opiate addiction epidemic. We think that this will help get people dealing with substance abuse disorder into treatment and out of the courts – hopefully for good,” said Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey. “Without treatment, we will continue to see the same people in our justice system again and again. The administration is partnering with us to try something different. I believe it will help.”
“Bay State Community Services (BSCS) is honored to partner with the Norfolk DA Buyer Diversion Treatment Alternative Program,” said Dr. Daurice Cox, Chief Executive Officer, Bay State Community Services. “This innovative and responsive program allows officers in Braintree, Quincy, Randolph and Weymouth to immediately access treatment for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. The BSCS clinical team will provide intensive wrap-around services to support these individuals, throughout their recovery process.”