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Gloucester chief gets meeting with Pfizer on opioid crisis

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello outside the police station earlier this summer.
Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello outside the police station earlier this summer.Lisa Poole for The Boston Globe/File

He got an answer.

Earlier this week, Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello posted a Facebook plea urging people to contact executives from large pharmaceutical companies and ask what they're doing about the opioid crisis.

Less than 48 hours later, one of the drug companies responded.

In a follow-up message Friday, Campanello said he plans to sit down with representatives from Pfizer Inc.

The drug manufacturer has in its portfolio an opioid medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

"Pssst . . . Pfizer called (honestly) . . . we are meeting with them," Campanello wrote on Facebook.

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Campanello could not be reached for further comment.

John Guilfoil, a Gloucester police spokesman, confirmed that the meeting will happen soon.

"The chief is excited to meet with them and to hear what they have to say," Guilfoil said.

Guilfoil added that Campanello's work to address the opioid epidemic "will certainly be part of that discussion."

"I would assume [Pfizer is] eager to talk about the issue as well," Guilfoil said.

Pfizer confirmed that a company representative will meet with Gloucester officials.

Two days before his most recent Facebook message, Campanello made a strategic push to get the department's nearly 10,000 Facebook followers to contact five pharmaceutical giants.

Campanello posted the phone numbers and supposed e-mails of the companies' chief executives online.

"Just politely ask them what they are doing to address the opioid epidemic in the United States, and if they realize that the latest data shows almost 80 percent of addicted persons start with a legally prescribed drug that they make," Campanello wrote.

After hearing back from at least one of the companies — Pfizer — he thanked people who reached out for their continued support.

Campanello said people who continue to call and e-mail the drug companies should be sure to applaud them for listening to the community's concerns.

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"Because they could have ignored us all. Instead, within 48 hours . . . they responded," Campanello wrote Friday. "With your support . . . this is becoming a change in the conversation. You all are truly pioneers in this and we are so proud to be part of your voice."


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com.