News Release - Mayor Warren Announces “Street to Treatment” Partnership to Help Chemical-Substance Abusers

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, July 31, 2017) – Mayor Lovely Warren is coming to the aid of city residents dealing with the affliction of illegal drugs in their neighborhoods with a new tool for Rochester Police to help people they encounter obtain immediate access to treatment.

Street to Treatment is a new partnership between the City and Rochester Regional Health that gives Rochester Police a place to take someone they find who is seeking help with their drug problem.

“Rochester is not immune to the devastating effects of the nation’s heroin epidemic and nowhere has that been more evident than in the North Clinton Avenue neighborhood,” said Mayor Warren. “Last summer, we saw it and heard it firsthand during a Clergy on Patrol walk and so we began working with our community’s addiction treatment providers, Ibero and our Rochester Police Department to develop a plan to provide help to users and the residents and business owners who are coping with their presence.”

The Mayor was joined by Police Chief Michael Ciminelli, Jennie Militello, Manager of Chemical Dependency Services at the Evelyn Brandon Health Center, Miguel Melendez, Special Projects Director for Ibero-American Development Corporation and Andrea DeMeo, CEO of Trillium Health in making the announcement during her Clergy on Patrol event. Rochester Regional Health’s Evelyn Brandon Center at 81 Lake Ave. will serve as the drop off site. There, patients can access the Center’s full range of services from clinical care and support to referrals, transportation to a treatment facility or simply a safe place to “come down” from a high.

“My staff and I at Evelyn Brandon Chemical Dependency are excited to be a part of an exciting community wide initiative,” said Jennie Militello, Evelyn Brandon Chemical Dependency manager. “Our thanks to the Mayor, RPD leadership and all other partnering agencies that gave fresh eyes to the issue of addiction and developed an out-of-the-box plan in determining a potential solution. Rochester Regional Health is proud to be a part of this dynamic effort.”

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem and having somewhere to bring a person who is voluntarily ready to seek help with their problem is an excellent tool for our officers,” said Chief Ciminelli. “Our data shows that a large percentage of users buying and using drugs in this neighborhood are not city residents and often their first encounter with the police is enough to open their eyes to the fact that they’re not where they need to be and it is our hope that they’ll readily accept help.”

Residents and businesses in city neighborhoods are left paying the price of illegal drug activity in terms of blight, unsafe conditions left behind by “shooting galleries” and the unsavory presence of people high on drugs or seeking drugs. They have made it clear to the Mayor that they want this activity out of their neighborhoods and so she convened community groups, addiction treatment providers and members of the Rochester Police Department to come up with a plan to help alleviate the problem.

“I want to thank Miguel Melendez of Ibero, the staff of Rochester Regional Health and Trillium Health and all of our dedicated service providers for coming to the table to help us create this plan and for their work addressing the heroin epidemic in our community,” continued Mayor Warren. “I especially want to thank our residents and business owners for their continued collaboration. I promise to continue fighting this scourge on our neighborhoods.”

The Street to Treatment drop-off site is currently in a pilot phase. The Rochester Police Department has issued a training bulletin to officers that instructs them that they can bring individuals seeking assistance with their substance abuse to the Evelyn Brandon Health Center weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The service is intended for persons who are coherent, not in need of immediate medical treatment and who voluntarily agree to seek help at the Center.


News Media: For more information, contact City Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at (585) 428-7135 or Rochester Regional Health’s Media Relations Specialist Veronica R. Chiesi Brown at (585) 922-4573.