Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said New Haven would be the first department in the state to distribute harm reduction kits.
NEW HAVEN — City police will begin distributing “harm reduction kits,” including clean syringes and glass pipes, with hopes of keeping those battling drug addiction alive until they are able to commit to seek treatment.
Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said officers often seize and discard needles and pipes, among other paraphernalia, when making an arrest.
But often times, once people are released from custody, they rush to use, driven by addiction — and use unsafe or unfamiliar equipment, placing at them at greater risk of overdosing or contracting HIV.
“While many think that the primary responsibility of police is to protect and enforce the laws, for us in New Haven, the primary responsibility is the protection and the preservation of life. Although there are many situations where we have to arrest, we want our people to know that want to we support every individual’s road to recovery,” said Reyes. “This epidemic is complicated. This affects every facet of our community. And the New Haven Police Department cares deeply about every member of its community.”
Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said New Haven would be the first department in the state to distribute such kits.
The kits, to be offered to those discharged from the New Haven police lockup, are also expected to include information about care options in the city, Brillo pads to use as filters for smoking crack cocaine, sterilizing pads, cotton, condoms and a tourniquet, among other items, officials said Thursday.
Each person receiving a kit will be tracked through a unique code, made of the first letter and third letter of their first name, the first letter of their last name, and their date of birth, to allow officials to track how many people seek care.