This is part two of our five part series, "The New Face Of Addiction" airing on WGBHnews and posted online.

Nearly 1200 people died of opiate overdoses in Massachusetts last year, according to the State Department of Public Health.  As a result of the increasing numbers of people becoming addicted to drugs, local police departments throughout the state are taking the problem of drug addiction seriously, with many using innovative approaches to combat the ongoing epidemic.

Gloucester’s program is attracting attention and a Facebook post by the police chief in the department went viral earlier this summer.  Heroin addicts – can go to the department- and turn in their drugs and paraphernalia – in exchange for treatment.

The Arlington Police Department is taking a different approach- OUTREACH.

Police Chief Frederick Ryan says, “ we’re not asking addicts to come to us, we’re going to them. The concept is we’re not going to wait for another body to turn up, we’re going to do everything we can to prevent another body from turning up.”

The two primary components of his department's program- is supporting addicts in recovery and providing free training and distribution of Narcan to family members. Narcan is a medicine that counters the effect of opioids especially in the case of overdoses.

Ryan says Arlington's outreach program is a three-pronged approach of tracking and identifying people who make 9-1-1 calls about an overdose, and using community policing. He says what works in one town or city in the commonwealth, may not necessarily work in another area in helping people.

The stigma attached to being a drug addict, makes addicts highly likely to relapse, according to Ryan. He says they use a model to work from and draws a comparison to felons coming out of prisons-without a fresh start that includes a job, housing and counseling-they won't survive on the outside.

Ryan says he meets people everyday, who are addicts or who have lost someone to drug addiction. He says, “Communities in the Commonwealth and around the country are wrestling with a major problem. The change is so obvious because drug addiction knows no boundaries in terms of race, gender, or socio-economics.  Law enforcement practicing under the philosophy of community police recognizes we’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem.

This is part 2 of a  5 part series, "The New Face Of Addiction". Next: How the epidemic is hitting western Massachusetts.

To listen to the entire interview WGBH Morning Edition host Bob Seay and Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan, click on the audio file above.