If you watched CNN’s recent edition of Anderson Cooper’s 360⁰ that discussed this country’s opiate epidemic, you may already know that you have an option for treating opiate addiction near Fort Worth. At one point in the program Anderson Cooper introduced an officer connected with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), which specifically deals with opiate addiction. Fort Worth is just a half hour from Grapevine, Texas, one of the 106 law enforcement agencies in this country that has become affiliated with PAARI.
PAARI law enforcement agencies specifically address opiate addiction. The idea is that if a person realizes they are suffering from addiction to prescription pain pills, opiate cough medication, or heroin, they can contact a PAARI law enforcement agency and ask for help. They will not be arrested and they will not be sent to jail. They will be directed, instead, to a nearby police community that can put them in touch with a treatment center. For those fighting opiate addiction near Fort Worth, that policy community is in Grapevine.
Help for Opiate Addiction Near Fort Worth
Grapevine is in Tarrant County, which is one of the four counties that contain the big Texas city of Fort Worth. Tarrant County’s addiction treatment website is MHMRTarrant.org, and it offers services for everyone in the county, including those looking for alcohol, drug, or opiate addiction near Fort Worth. Like many county boards of addiction throughout the country, it began as a small agency but was later combined for budgeting purposes with the agency that offers mental health and developmental disability services. Many of the providers of treatment for opiate addiction in Fort Worth initially feared that their funding would be absorbed into the funds needed for mental health and developmental disability services, but the creeping epidemic growth of opiate addiction in Fort Worth, in Texas, and throughout the country has forced mental health boards to keep at least some level of focus on opiate addiction.
PAARI: How It Started and What It Does
PAARI was the brainchild of the chief of police in Gloucester, Massachusetts—Leonard Campanello. He could see that the increased availability of opiate drugs was putting addicts behind bars as often as it affected the dealers, and he realized that those with addictions were the victims of not only the dealers but also of a medical disorder.
Three important components of the PAARI partner agencies include:
- Partnering with medical or behavioral health agencies that provide addiction treatment, in Fort Worth, Gloucester, or in any of the 104 other areas where there is a PAARI partner. It’s not required to call the PAARI agency; if an officer from a PAARI agency stumbles across an addicted person in the course of duty, they can offer addiction treatment to that person rather than incarceration.
- The staff at PAARI-affiliated law enforcement agencies are educated about the stigma associated with opiate addiction. In Fort Worth’s neighboring agency of Grapevine, this means that the police officer with whom you deal will want to talk with you about your options for recovery and not about the criminal activities that may result from your medical diagnosis of addiction. They will understand that you need help and not condemnation.
- PAARI-affiliated law enforcement agencies have kits of naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, for distribution to families where addicted persons live. They can also educate people on the importance of following up naloxone administration with immediate medical care. It’s important to remember, when using this drug that has saved so many lives, that the naloxone can leave the person’s system before the opiates do, and if that occurs they will fall right back into a state of overdose.
You would think that a huge state like Texas would offer many PAARI-affiliated agencies, but the only one as of this writing is in Grapevine. It’s fortunate for people affected by opiate addiction in Fort Worth that they live near to a community where the police will treat them compassionately and help them find the care that they need to get well.
Treatment Options in Texas for Opiate Addiction
The federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends methadone and buprenorphine as the two best options for treatment of opiate addiction. In Fort Worth and throughout Tarrant County there are many clinics, but it’s best to find a program that accepts Texas Medicaid, that has passed the rigorous standards of CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditation, and that utilizes licensed counselors knowledgeable about addiction treatment.
Methadone and buprenorphine are medications that can facilitate recovery for a person with an opiate addiction because they quiet the body’s craving for more opiates. Those two drugs also prevent the addicted person from experiencing the horrible withdrawal symptoms that stop so many people from remaining engaged in recovery. While heroin or prescription pain pills require dosing every few hours, the medication administered or prescribed by a physician at a treatment program for opiate addiction in Fort Worth stays in the system for at least 24 hours. The person’s response to the medication is carefully monitored. It’s possible for him or her to take a step back from addiction, take a deep breath, and learn how to live their life again, the right way.
Up until now, people with addictions have dreaded encounters with law enforcement agencies because there has been no understanding of the need for medical intervention for opiate addiction. In Fort Worth, we can hope that at some point the police department will partner with PAARI. In the meantime, you can look for information from Grapevine—as we stated, just a short half-hour drive from Fort Worth.
If you visit a local methadone program in Fort Worth and you don’t have insurance, you will get the information you need in order to apply for Texas Medicaid. Remember that addiction is considered a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act, something you should keep in mind as you fill out your Medicaid application.
If you are the family member of someone who is losing the battle against opiate addiction near Fort Worth or in Tarrant County, give the Grapevine police a call and ask where you can obtain a naloxone kit. You cannot force the person you care about into treatment, but you can put all the information in front of them. You will feel much better once you have set the process into motion.