A candidate for alderman in Manchester is proposing a controversial idea to tackle the city’s opioid epidemic that involves putting those who overdose...in jail.
Bob O’Sullivan is running for alderman in Ward 2. He says he witnessed the current policy, he refers to as "revive and release," on a ride-along with first responders last weekend in Manchester and he says it isn’t working.
O’Sullivan is pitching a new policy he’s calling a “community intervention” focused on treatment. The idea is anyone revived from an opioid overdose would get a 30-day jail sentence, 60 days for second offenders and 90 days for third offenders.
But O’Sullivan says he doesn’t think these sentences should come with criminal records.
“They would have medical detox at the jail, they’re safe, they’re fed and they would have the services there to hopefully get help once they get out of jail," O'Sullivan said.
“The intention of this is to help people – it’s not to put people in jail," he said. "I know we can’t arrest our way out of this – putting someone in jail without the treatment is not the answer.”
Opponents say a policy like this could lead to more deaths if people fearing arrest stop calling 911.