This week, President Obama issued a proclamation marking this September 18-24 as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. Opioid abuse is a major health concern in the US; drug overdoses kill more Americans than traffic accidents, and more than 60% of these deaths involve opioids. As part of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week federal agencies are expanding coverage for substance abuse treatment, establishing measures with the Chinese government to combat the supply of drugs coming into the US, increasing patient limit for practitioners prescribing medication-assisted treatment, and support educational and telemedicine programs that expand access to healthcare and treatment.   A large part of spreading awareness of opioid abuse is to relieve the stigma surrounding those suffering from addiction. The feelings of

disgrace and negative self-worth from society’s attitude and misconceptions about addicts can dissuade those in need from seeking treatment.  Last year the local Gloucester, MA police department started a program to help addicts that has since been adopted by over a hundred other departments in 28 states. In July 2015, Gloucester PD launched the Angel Initiative that promises to not charge addicts who voluntarily surrender drugs or paraphernelia but instead gets them started on a fast-tracked process towards detox and recovery. Since its inception, the Angel Initiative has helped over 450 people get treatment for addiction with no arrests while maintaining dignity of those who need help. It also led to the creation of the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI) to help promote recovery and…