Police: Help your loved ones

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 9:30am

New Shoreham Police Chief Vin Carlone issued the following statement about opioid use on Block Island:

Rhode Island and other states are experiencing an epidemic.

Heroin and opioid injuries and deaths are occurring daily. Recently, drug dealers have begun adding other drugs into the heroin that they sell, creating an increasingly lethal mix. Heroin is readily available in any city and, to a lesser extent, in some areas of South County. Our community is also affected. There are people here struggling with heroin addiction. There have been three overdose deaths in the past several years, two recently.

In most communities, there isn't much that can be done because of the size and unknown numbers of people coming and going at any given time. It is very easy to drive to another city or town and obtain these drugs on the mainland.

On Block Island it is more difficult. The person obtaining the heroin has to travel off-island to get the drug. Given the logistical difficulties, people feel they are safer from drugs here, especially those that are addicted; they come to the island to get away from the instant access to drugs that exists on the mainland. This plan actually does work for some people. It gets them far enough away from their associates, who are also drug-addicted, and away from their suppliers. 

But for some people, it is such an awfully strong addiction that they are fighting it each and every day. We have an advantage on Block Island and we can help these people. Here is how we can do it:

First, we must consider this an addiction and a medical problem. The person suffering from addiction needs immediate medical help.

From our previous investigations concerning heroin use, what is apparent is that there are always people in the Block Island community who are well aware when a person is addicted. They don't know what to do, either as a family member or friend; but these people do not reach out to the police — ever. They even know when the person is going off-island to get heroin and they don't tell us. 

If someone would reach out to us and tell us when a person is having trouble with drugs, or going off-island to procure drugs, we could intervene either on the mainland or when they return to the island. We have done this on a number of occasions. If this person was a member of my own family, or a friend, I would report that person every day in the hope that he or she could eventually be treated and cured. 

If you think that the person will be arrested and prosecuted, you may be correct. This may happen, but not always. Here's the thing: the court handles this as a medical problem, and helps the person get treatment. In most cases, the person will not end up with a criminal record.

The police will never solve this problem without the assistance of the community. I am asking you to please contact us and let us help anyone in our community that is having a problem. 

This is one problem that I truly believe is solvable on Block Island. Please assist us in preventing any more of these tragedies. 

Wouldn't that be a better solution, rather than hearing about another death?