AP Review: Heroin crime immunity yields mixed results

Jim "Woods" Ellis
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(AP) – Authorities in the Cincinnati area made an offer last month: Hand in potentially deadly drugs and you won’t be charged.

But the blanket immunity there hasn’t brought in any heroin so far.

An Associated Press review has found that results from similar efforts elsewhere have been mixed. But that hasn’t dissuaded supporters who feel like their backs are against the wall as they try to combat the opiate epidemic.

National addiction experts stress simply offering immunity for turning in drugs isn’t enough. They need to be combined with efforts to end the cycle of drug abuse, arrest and incarceration.

In Gloucester, Massachusetts, addicts can turn in their drugs to police without fear of arrest. But officials say less than 20 percent of the over 500 addicts placed into treatment since June 2015 has actually done so.

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