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Heroin scourge changes role of police in hard-hit areas

9 months 3 weeks 4 days ago February 07, 2016 Feb 7, 2016 Sunday, February 07 2016 February 07, 2016 2:03 PM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Dan Sewell

CINCINNATI - The police on front lines of the nation's battle against deadly heroin are changing tactics and even redefining their roles in some communities.

In a suburban Cincinnati township and a northwest Ohio county, police in special teams try to intervene with users soon after overdose recovery. They want to steer them into treatment while near-death experiences are fresh, before they relapse.

A program that offers treatment-seeking addicts an amnesty is spreading to other states from a northern Massachusetts community's police department.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently spotlighted unconventional approaches at a conference in his hard-hit state. He says police can't arrest their way out of the problem.

Some criminal justice veterans applaud less hard-line approaches, but ask where they were for drug scourges hitting black communities hardest.

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