Markey to be Joined by Gun Violence Prevention and Opioid Addiction Recovery Leader John Rosenthal at State of the Union Address

Rosenthal is co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence and Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative

Boston (January 8, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) will bring Massachusetts gun violence prevention and opioid addiction leader John Rosenthal as his guest to the State of the Union address. John is co-founder of several of Massachusetts’s most effective organizations addressing public health issues such as gun violence, homelessness and substance abuse. Most recently, John co-founded the nationally-recognized Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), which is implementing the innovative program model through the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department that provides treatment instead of relying on incarceration. The program has so far served 700 participants since it began in June 2015, and there are now 50 partner police departments in nine states running similar programs. John’s work with his organization Stop Handgun Violence was symbolized for 19 years by the large 252 feet long and 20 feet high iconic billboard that ran alongside the Massachusetts Turnpike near Boston’s Fenway Park.

“John Rosenthal is a five-star general on the front lines of the most important public health battles our Commonwealth and our nation are fighting,” said Senator Markey. “John’s efforts on behalf of countless families, victims and patients impacted by the gun violence and opioid epidemics in Massachusetts are lifesaving, and I am proud to have him join me at the State of the Union.”

“I’m very proud and humbled to be Senator Markey’s only guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address,” said Rosenthal. “I’ve worked with Senator Markey for several decades to make urban industrial Massachusetts a model for gun violence prevention and more recently for addressing the opioid addiction epidemic. Together, we have raised awareness and enacted the most effective gun laws in the nation in Massachusetts. I am extremely proud of the work we’ve done together and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Markey to replicate our model approach to gun violence and opioid addiction in Congress and across the Country.”

In October 1995, as a gun owner and businessperson, John founded the organization Stop Handgun Violence. The organization has been the lead advocate for Massachusetts’s effective gun violence prevention laws and initiatives, helping lead Massachusetts to some of the most effective gun laws in the nation, first in the nation consumer protection regulations for firearms and the lowest firearm fatality rate per 100,000 capita in the United States. In June 2015, John and Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello co-founded the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative to support the innovative Gloucester Angel program and help other police departments address the deadly epidemic and disease of opioid addiction.