The New Bedford Police Department is cracking down on drug addicts who overdose behind the wheel.
“We sympathize with their addiction, but there are consequences for operating under the influence,” said Lt. Amos Melos.
In the past, police would respond to overdose calls with treatment, not any penalty. But in recent months, the department has made a shift in their focus. Since January, 8 drivers have overdosed behind the wheel. According to Melos, in one instance, the same driver overdosed twice in a span of two months. The incidents have prompted the department to now pursue charges in the cases.
“It's becoming more and more of a public safety issue that we need to,” Melos said, “It's like operating under the influence of alcohol.”
While they have not seen any injuries result from overdoses in cars, it’s a growing concern amidst the growing opioid abuse issues in the state. Melos hopes their new enforcement efforts prevent future problems.
“People need to be accountable for their actions,” said Melos.