A town in Massachusetts decided to stop arresting drug users. 2 months later, here's how it's going.
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Open Society Foundations

Back in June 2015, Gloucester, Massachusetts, police chief Leonard Campanello announced that his officers would no longer arrest drug users who approached them seeking help.

Photo by nathanmac87/Flickr.


Instead, the department announced they would refer the drug users to treatment, and front the cost.

Gloucester has been struggling to combat a big heroin problem.

Photo by richiec/Flickr.

Between January and March 2015, the community experienced four overdose deathsmore than in all of 2014.

"It's a provocative idea to put out there," Chief Campanello told Upworthy, "But we knew we had to do something different."

Needless to say, there were many questions about whether Campanello's experiment would actually work.

How much money would it cost? Would it actually reduce the number of overdose deaths? Would drug users actually trust the police, knowing that admitting to possession could technically get them arrested at any time?

"I had a lot of skepticism," Chief Campanello said. "I didn't know if we were going to get one person or a thousand people."

After two months, the early results are in, and they look promising. Very promising.

According to Campanello, since June 1, an impressive number of addicted persons have made use of the program:

"We've had 116 people placed in treatment," Campanello explained. "No criminal charges. All placed on the same day."

In order to keep costs down, the police department managed to bargain down the cost of a life-saving detox drug from local pharmacies. Largely as a result, the department estimates that the cost of the program so far is less than $5,000.

Or, as Campanello put it in a recent Facebook post, "under $5,000.00 ... for 100 lives."

"We've built partnerships with treatment centers, health plans, health providers, other law enforcement, and certain the public, which has overwhelmingly supported this approach," he told Upworthy.

As a result of the positive early signs, Campanello and his team are working hard to take the program nationwide.

As with any new program, there are still a few kinks to work out.

Even after the initiative took effect in June, the epidemic of overdose deaths in Gloucester hasn't completely subsided. And given the outside-the-box nature of the program, there is still a lot of legal red tape to work through.

But progress has to start somewhere.

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.

And 100 people who would otherwise be sitting in jail now have a chance to repair their lives.

"It's extremely important for a police department to treat all people with respect," Campanello said. "Law enforcement doesn't exist to judge people."

With nonviolent drug users popping up in prison at alarming rates, it's great to see evidence that when you treat addicted persons like people instead of criminals, good things can happen.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

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Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

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