Public safety personnel provide a lifeline to those struggling with substance use issues
With Christmas just two days away, many people in our community aren’t experiencing the joy that the season brings, but are struggling with substance use disorders and the resulting feelings of depression and loneliness.
Leaders of the local law enforcement agencies and fire department involved with the Public Safety Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative want residents in those situations to know that they understand and are available to help them on a road to recovery and sobriety.
PAARI, a program of the GOW (Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming) Opioid Task Force, is a joint venture of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department, Le Roy Police Department, and City of Batavia Fire Department that provides support and resources to create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.
Those dealing with substance use issues can connect with these agencies throughout the coronavirus pandemic and holiday season to access safe and nonjudgmental support, said Christen Ferraro, task force coordinator.
“We appreciate our law enforcement and fire department locations for continuing to offer this line of assistance to our community,” she said.
City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said his department is “committed to helping those in our community that need help the most.”
“We have worked closely with the Opioid Task Force and Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse to make the City Police Department a place that anyone suffering from substance abuse can come to and be connected with services, no questions asked,” he said. “If you or a loved is in need, you can access the Department 24/7 by coming to Police Headquarters located at 10 West Main Street and ask to speak with an officer. They will connect you with a peer advocate from GCASA to help you on a road to recovery.”
City of Batavia Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano echoed Heubusch’s sentiments.
“The City of Batavia Fire Department, located at 18 Evans Street, is pleased to provide a judgment free and safe area of refuge for those seeking assistance in dealing with substance abuse,” he said. “Having the ability to partner with so many agencies to assist those in time of need coincides with our department's mission.”
Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron said his office is “proud” to participate in the initiative.
“We fully recognize that addiction has no boundaries, and we are committed to providing assistance to anyone at any time,” he said. “Please do not hesitate. Let us help you obtain the treatment that you deserve to overcome your addiction.”
For more information, contact Ferraro at [email protected].