Swansea Police Awarded Regional Grant to Address Substance Use and Behavioral Health

From left: Fall River Fire Department Lt. William Lonardo and Chief John Lynch, Fall River City Councilor Linda Pereira, SSTAR COO Patricia Emsellem, Westport EMS Officer Glenn Nunes, Mayor Paul Coogan (at podium), Fall River Police Chief Chief Jeffrey Cardoza, Founder and Director of River to Recovery Kevin Doyle, Swansea Police Chief Marc Haslam, Somerset Police Chief Todd Costa, Street Outreach Worker Niki Fontaine, Fall River Fire Deputy Chief Roger St. Martin, Boston Medical Center Emergency Services Program Assistant Director Jaimie Shorten and Fall River EMS Deputy Director Beth Faunce. (Photo courtesy Office of Mayor Paul Coogan)

SWANSEA — Chief Marc Haslam is pleased to announce that the Swansea Police Department, along with several other local communities, has been awarded a 2021 First Responders–Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act grant to address regional substance use and behavioral health issues in the Greater Fall River Area.

The U.S. Department of Health’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded the City of Fall River approximately $2 million in First Responders–Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (FR-CARA) grant funding. The FR-CARA grant will be dispersed over the next four years to provide first responders and other community agencies and partners in the Greater Fall River Area with overdose reversal drugs and training.

The City of Fall River will serve as the lead municipality for the regional effort alongside the communities of Swansea, Somerset and Westport.

As part of the regional effort, the Swansea Police Outreach Team will receive additional training for staff regarding substance use and partner with local agencies to provide resources to those affected by substance use. Funding from the grant will also be used to purchase an opioid antagonist drug, Naloxone, for the department.

“As a 21st-century police agency, it is our duty to be equipped will all the necessary resources and training needed to ensure our community members’ safety,” Chief Haslam said. “In recent years we’ve seen a drastic increase in overdoses throughout the Commonwealth and we remain committed to addressing this crisis right in our own community. We thank everyone for their work on this grant and look forward to working alongside our neighboring agencies to reduce the number of fatal overdoses in our area.”

Each year, the City of Fall River and its partner clinicians, social workers and recovery coaches will train and provide resources to 500 first responders in the area that focus on carrying/administering an overdose reversal drug, cultural competency, and licit and illicit drug safety. Each year approximately 1,700 doses of an overdose reversal drug will be distributed as well.

Partners that helped make this grant possible include SSTAR, Boston Medical Center, Compassionate Health Care Group, River to Recovery, Recover FR, Essentia Wellness and licensed independent clinical social worker practitioner Mary Chapman.


Swansea Police Awarded Regional Grant to Address Substance Use and Behavioral Health