Some drug users to get second chance if arrested in Dorchester or Mattapan

Substance abusers arrested in areas served by Dorchester Municipal Court will get a chance to enter a treatment program that, if they get through, would mean their charges would be struck without being put on their records.

The pilot diversion program, which is aimed at "low level" users, not traffickers, is a joint effort by the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, Boston Police, the court and the Gavin Foundation - which will fund the community-base three-to-six month treatment program. In a statement, DA Dan Conley said:

Beginning next month, if members of the Boston Police find someone in simple possession of a controlled substance who presents no other apparent risk to public safety, they’ll assess that person for substance dependence or addiction. If the person meets some basic criteria, they won’t make an arrest. Instead, they’ll issue a summons for that person to appear in court. In many cases, Boston Police already opt to issue summonses instead of making arrests, but Road to Recovery summonses will be for the very next day instead of several weeks later, allowing us to strike while the iron is hot and there’s still an incentive to seek treatment.

Defendants who complete their treatment plans, which will include everything from detox to counseling, will have their possession charge ripped up before it gets on their record. If they don't complete their treatment, though, they'll then face court action.

According to the DA's office, more than 70% of the low-level drug-possession charges it handles are continued without a finding, dismissed outright or result in the people charged being placed on pre-trial probation. None of these involve convictions - but also not any treatment

As a result, they don’t address the underlying issue or divert defendants from further contact with the criminal justice system – they merely defer it until the next case.

The diversion program begins Jan. 2.




No arrest?

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So they won't arrest them, just issue a summons. If they don't take them into custody, won't most of them just not show up the next day?


I'm not sure about most, but a lot of them will not show up.

Bench warrant

Sure, but then a bench warrant would probably be issued and the next time they run in with a cop (fairly likely with addicts) they will be arrested even if there isn't a chargeable offense then and held until they face the now unhappy judge.

In the end it still saves the police resources because while plenty may not show up there are also plenty who will.

What's the procedure if it

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What's the procedure if it happens to the same person again once they "complete" the program and are back on the street? Chances are, if they are an opiate addict or a crack addict, or someone who lives with chronic physical pain, or all of the above, the relapse rate is just way too high. Do they get ordered back into a program again and again or do they get arrested? Also, are we confident that there are a enough beds for long-term, in-house treatment for people with no insurance?


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Ironic how all these treatment programs pop up now that we have this opioid crisis, didn't recall a whole lot of these programs when I was growing up and friends were (at the time) being locked up for simple weed possession. I wonder why the difference?


And you wish they received

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And you wish they received help at the time because now they've turned into full blown multi-drug addicts?


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Ironic how public policy has changed over the past 25 years.

How many people died of overdoses when you were growing up? Was it more than at any other time in US history? Because that's where we're at now.

There's been methadone

There's been methadone clinics in Boston over 40 years, these are nothing new.

And weed has been legal for about a yeah now.


Just Say No is a joke anyway, but the difference is that weed addiction isn't a thing, but opioid addiction is a big problem requiring something different than jail, which absolutely is not working.

The difference is the

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The difference is the majority of users in these areas have switched from primarily African Americans to more white folks. When it was a crack epidemic the answer was to lock them all up. They can dress it up how they want...

It's "ironic" now that there

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It's "ironic" now that there's a need for these treatment programs, they now exist?

I'm used to seeing people who don't know what "ironic" means, but this is a new level...


What about it?

Your idea of what a "good" idea is has been tried. It isn't working.

And you wonder why?

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The black community believes there is no justice in the halls of justice. When the crack epidemic hit the inner city the response was to label substance abusers as Super predators which led to draconian prison sentences and three strikes and you are out programs. The present day heroin crisis is a white suburban epidemic which means that substance abusers will receive treatment and not face prison sentencing but will able to enter the road to recovery program.


say what?

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It is a white and Hispanic epidemic. We are also dealing with different historical eras - whites got a free pass on cocaine and heroin in previous generations - duh. This isn't any sea change - just Black folks showing some sense.

Be wary of over simplification.

Perhaps we should be asking the African American community how it is that their addiction rates are relatively low?

What impact will this have on

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What impact will this have on the areas covered by Dorchester Court? Sound like an incentive for users to hang out in Dot Court territory.