City Releases Details of Nearly $100,000 Federal Grant to Help Reduce Drug Deaths

The city of Haverhill released details Wednesday of a $98,446 grant to help reduce opioid overdoses and deaths.

As WHAV first reported July 17, the Haverhill Police Department was awarded a Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, a federal program administered by the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini during a recent Open Mike Show.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini during a recent Open Mike Show.

“Heroin addiction and its devastating effects on the community are a top priority of our administration. This money will allow the funding of a social worker to help people get the services they need to help them with their addiction. We must explore all possible avenues of assistance for our citizens,” said Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

Receipt of the grant was first discussed during a recent Haverhill School Committee meeting where Haverhill City Councilor Colin F. LePage appealed to the school department to hire a middle school health instructor. Quoting the Governor’s Opioid Working Group, LePage said, 74 percent of individuals with a substance use disorder began substance abuse at the age of 17 or younger, 10.2 percent initiated use at the age of 11 or younger. Further, he said, the group has found parents are not discussing drugs with their middle school-aged children even as abuse begins at that age. He noted the school department’s own strategic plan calls for re-instituting the middle school health education program.

The mayor and Haverhill Police reported Wednesday the department plans to partner with North American Family Institute (NFI) of Haverhill, a non-profit and licensed behavioral health organization. NFI will add personnel, including a “ride-along” social worker for targeted policing, staff to conduct parenting skills training and mentors for a community reinforcement approach using the Haverhill Boxing Club. NFI will incorporate other partners that include the Haverhill Violence Prevention Coalition and Haverhill Community Television.


Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro.

“Numerous treatment services that target addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses will be made available based on assessment of need,” according to a statement. These include intensive addiction day treatment programs for adults and adolescents; conventional office-based services delivered in individual, group and family settings; and a community reinforcement approach integrated with enforcement and treatment as an alternative to criminal activity.

The grant will also be used to launch two parent support groups—one for parents whose children are currently using drugs and a support and grief group for parents whose children have died from overdoses.

“I am very pleased with the hard work and commitment of Chief (Alan R.) DeNaro and the Haverhill Police Department, as well as the agencies they have partnered with in researching and obtaining this grant so that we may use a multi-faceted approach to helping our citizens overcome the heroin problem,” Fiorentini said.

One thought on “City Releases Details of Nearly $100,000 Federal Grant to Help Reduce Drug Deaths

  1. Wow I can’t believe they spending more money on Heroin users, let them all overdose and even then they still do the drug. Y don’t they spend money on helping people find jobs