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Are drug arrests an effective means of combating addictions?

Society has long struggled to deal effectively with the problem some people face with drug addiction. One method of attempting to deal with the problem is to arrest the addict and throw the person into jail, leaving them to struggle with the medical issues brought about by sudden withdrawal in the confines of a cell.

It's hardly surprising that addiction experts worry about the risks to the addict of that crude approach to addiction. Yet we see the approach continue in New Hampshire, as evidenced by recent arrests on drug charges south of Rochester.

Law enforcement officers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined to arrest 30 people in a drug sweep described in media reports as a way to curtailheroin overdoses.

Arrests were made in Salem, New Hampshire, and nearby Massachusetts communities by four teams of officers that included FBI agents, state police and local law enforcement agencies.

One report of an arrest began with police following a 22-year-old man as he drove to a gas station. He paused at the station to pick up a male passenger.

The vehicle was soon approached by police while parked on a nearby street after officers saw the driver open a plastic bag.

According to a media report, officers "immediately recognized" the substance in the bag as heroin.

The vehicle were searched; police found a syringe in the car. They arrested the driver on a heroin possession charge.

More than two dozen others were arrested on similar charges.

Will the arrests slow down overdoses or addiction problems? Those are questions for addiction experts to answer.

However, the arrests create legal problems that are best addressed with the help of an attorney experienced in helping courts deal humanely with defendants struggling with addictions. 

Source: Eagle-Tribune, "Regional heroin raid nets 30 arrests," Jill Harmacinski, Feb. 8, 2014

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