Westbrook police will be joined by the city’s school department, other municipal departments and community groups Thursday to announce what they describe as a comprehensive strategy to tackle the sharp rise in the use of heroin in the city.

The community initiative “is a collaboration of over 30 different organizations and community members,” Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts said in a news release Monday.

The groups will address the three areas that are key to stemming the flow and use of heroin, Roberts said: prevention through education, enforcement, and intervention through treatment and recovery.

The local effort was spawned after the city experienced eight overdoses in July, she said. None of them were fatal, the chief said, but that prompted a group of people to start meeting in August to look for ways to address the problem. Thursday’s press conference will report on the group’s work and the process going forward.

“We want to give an update as to what our different work groups have accomplished to date and what our goals are,” Roberts said.

Westbrook officials also plan to hold a community forum in January about substance abuse disorders.

The police department also plans to announce some policy changes that will alter how officers respond to overdoses. Under the new policies, those who overdose and their families will get information about available resources, Roberts said.

Several Maine police departments – which often encounter people with substance abuse disorders who are engaged in criminal conduct – have launched efforts to get heroin users help. Scarborough’s Project Hope and Project Save ME in Oxford County have launched programs modeled after one started by police in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The programs encourage people who are addicted to heroin to turn themselves in to the police department. Instead of users facing criminal charges, the departments try to find them treatment.

Portland police this month announced the creation of the Law Enforcement Addiction Advocacy Program through which a new substance abuse disorder liaison will make sure addicts are aware of available resources and will work to educate young people to prevent abuse.

Westbrook’s announcement will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Westbrook Public Safety Building.