UPDATE, MARCH 4, 2016: Grapevine city officials recently announced its participation in a nationwide program called Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, or PAARI, in hopes of curbing the black tar heroin problem affecting young people across North Texas.
The nationwide program, which started in Gloucester, Mass., takes a compassionate approach instead of a punitive one toward heroin addicts and transforms the police department into a place where drug users can receive help. The program allows drug users to walk into a police station and turn over their drugs and needles and get treatment instead of jail.
Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame told a group of treatment providers and a state representative on Wednesday, "We just have to quit incarcerating sick people," especially since county jails are filled with the mentally ill, according to "Overincarceration of People with Mental Illness," a June 2015 report by Texas Public Policy Foundation.
This move by city officials is just one of several out-of-the box initiatives started in hopes of combating the rising tide of heroin addiction. Other moves included tracing heroin overdoses back to the drug dealer, who often are addicts themselves, to hold them accountable. We covered this issue in the following story from February 2015:
Rebecca Graves, a detective with the Grapevine police, was driving back to the station one day in 2012 when she heard the call from dispatch: Possible overdose off Holly Street, officer assistance requested. Graves, an eight-year veteran of the force, usually worked violent crimes. But Holly was just a few blocks away, so she steered her cruiser in that direction.
The victim, an 18-year-old woman named Cassidy Seward, was already in the back of an ambulance. Paramedics had found her in the bathroom, the shower still running, her body turning blue. They'd loaded her onto the stretcher and, after Graves arrived, continued trying to revive her. Her 21-year-old sister Samantha was standing outside, weeping into the phone. Their mother, Suzanne, was on the other end.