October 1, 2017

Editorial: In Worcester, help instead of handcuffs for drug buyers

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Flickr / Joe Campbell

Worcester Police are initiating a pilot program to divert some drug buyers into treatment rather than sending them straight to jail.

It’s a thought a lot of us have had about the heartache of opioid abuse: People caught buying narcotics on the street need to be rescued, not arrested.

Many of those wrestling with addiction realize it, too, somewhere under the monster of their problem. And increasingly across the country, officials are thinking the same thing, that opioid addicts need help.

Massachusetts has chosen Worcester to lead the way in putting this powerful thought into practice.

Launched Thursday at Worcester Police headquarters, a pilot program funded with a $99,000 state grant is designed to steer opioid users into treatment instead of court dates, fines, possible jail and the continued grip of addiction. The Buyer Diversion Treatment Program will give some people caught buying illegal drugs the option of entering into arrest or detox.


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