Connecticut city to give ‘harm reduction kits’ to addicts

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Police in Connecticut’s second largest city will soon begin distributing clean syringes and glass pipes in what are being called “harm reduction kits” to help residents battling drug addiction alive until they seek treatment.

The kits, to be offered to those discharged from the New Haven police lockup, are also expected to include information about care options, Brillo pads to use as filters for smoking crack cocaine, sterilizing pads, cotton, condoms and a tourniquet, among other items, city officials said Thursday according to The New Haven Register.

“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 we want to we support every individual’s road to recovery,” police Chief Otoniel Reyes said.

Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said New Haven is the first department in the state to distribute such kits.

Nearly 50 city officers — those most likely to be assigned to lockup — have received appropriate training to oversee the program, Reyes said.

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