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Woman asked police for her drugs, is arrested on drug charges

New Hampshire authorities must honor rehabilitative procedures set up by federal law. One recent arrest raises a question regarding the policy of police departments over drugs that are approved and used to treat opioid addiction. It would be improper for the authorities to file drug charges against a person who is taking a regulated drug approved for heroin addiction treatment.

Although the facts are unclear, the issue may possibly arise regarding the re-arrest by Salem Police of a woman who had been released on bail after an apparent shoplifting incident. She came back a few hours later to ask police to return the Suboxone that they seized during the earlier incident. The officer told the 26-year-old Concord woman that he would not return the Suboxone.

He then saw her get in a car and begin to drive away, but he apparently remembered that her license was allegedly suspended. He approached her, and after a struggle, arrested her for driving while her license was under suspension, breach of bail and resisting arrest. The police also reportedly arrested her on drug and willful concealment charges. The facts of the latter charges are currently undisclosed and unexplained.

Suboxone is a federally regulated drug that is considered substantially superior to Methadone in getting addicts to stop using heroin. The recent advent of Suboxone treatment was heralded as a way to get addicts off of heroin by using a substance that activated only some of the opioid receptors. Patients could continue working and performing their activities during treatment, which required rehabilitative sessions with certified physicians.

Although the facts of the woman's arrests on drug charges are unclear, there is at least a possibility that the accused was entitled to be carrying the Suboxone as part of an approved treatment program. That would be entirely consistent with her return to request release of her medication. In addition, it is questionable under New Hampshire and federal law whether police could legally take the Suboxone in the first place, considering that it appears to be unrelated to the shoplifting incident.  

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Woman Wants Drugs After Arrest, Charged Again", July 12, 2017

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