The police chief in Gloucester, Massachusetts, has employed what the Boston Globe accurately describes as an "unconventional" tactic in his fight to reduce the number of drug addicts. Chief Leonard Campanello's department put up a Facebook post with the phone numbers and email addresses of the CEOs at five big pharmaceutical companies—Eli Lilly, Abbott Labs, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer, reports CBS Boston. "Now...don't get mad," advises the post. "Just politely ask them what they are doing to address the opioid epidemic in the United States." Campanello argues that most addicts start out by getting hooked on prescription drugs. "They can definitely be part of the solution here and I believe they will be....might need a little push."
Campanello is familiar with unconventional methods. Earlier this year, after a rash of overdose deaths in his city, he shifted his department's approach to reflect the idea that "addicts will no longer be treated as criminals," sums up the Portland Press Herald. The philosophy emphasizes treatment over prosecution, and while it's a little early to gauge results, the newspaper says the "radical shift" has at least sparked a national conversation about the proper approach to addicts. As for the CEO stunt, the Daily News of Newburyport actually tried all five numbers and ran into a brick wall. The closest thing to a response was someone in the Pfizer office referring the call to an industry rep, who said the real problem was with generic drugs, not the one produced by these five companies. (A young widow posted a jarring photo of her late husband to make a point of her own about addiction.)