One town came up with a genius plan for dealing with drug users: Stop arresting them.
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Open Society Foundations

Beginning June 1, 2015, police in Gloucester, Massachusetts, will no longer arrest drug users who approach them seeking help.

Cops being cops.


A Facebook post from the chief of police reads:

"Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery." — Chief Leonard Campanello, Gloucester Police Department

Instead of locking up drug users, the police will assign them personal guides who will help them begin the process of recovery.

This is an incredible development that has the potential to save lives.

Even Ol' Sea Captain Jehoshaphat approves of the change.

Heroin and prescription drug abuse has become a real problem in Massachusetts in the past several years. Over 1,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2014, up significantly from just two years earlier. Four people have died in the first five months of 2015 in Gloucester alone.

Who knows how many of those cases would have turned out differently if users had been able to ask for help without fearing arrest?

Come to think of it, who came up with the idea of throwing people in jail for using drugs in the first place?

Putting big piles of heroin next to a ruler: only slightly less confounding than arresting drug addicts.

The notion that prison is rehabilitative for addicts is, at best, extremely ... not so true. As few as 11% of inmates suffering from addiction get treatment in jail, and over 50% start using again after their release. Nonviolent drug abusers typically pose no threat to anyone other than themselves. And yet, in 2012, drug abuse was the single highest arrest category nationwide, according to an FBI report. Pretty ridiculous!

While Gloucester's new policy is a huge step in the right direction, more still needs to happen.

We need to rethink the way we handle drug addiction nationwide. It's easy to lock someone up, throw away the key, and forget about them forever. It's harder to try and understand the complicated forces that underlie their addiction and try to get them the help they need.

As Chief Campanello bluntly puts it:

"The reasons for the difference in care between a tobacco addict and an opiate addict is stigma and money. Petty reasons to lose a life."

If enough communities follow his lead, hopefully there will be far less lost.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon