By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Twenty-five of the people who were targeted by a wide-sweeping drug bust last week have been arrested, but many are already out on bail, police officials told Laconia police commissioners Thursday.
Detective Lt. Thomas Swett told commissioners that the department is still looking for eight people for whom they hold outstanding warrants.
Commissioner Armand Maheux said that it "must be discouraging" for the police officers who worked so hard on the warrants and arrests to know that 13 of those 16 picked up that day by Laconia police were released on personal recognizance bail.
"It's like they almost laugh at you," Maheux said.
Commissioner Thomas Tarr, who participated by telephone because he is out of the state, said Maheux was "right on the money."
Tarr wanted to know how much, if any, pretrial supervision each was getting and Swett responded that there is very little pretrial supervision available for people who haven't been convicted of the crime.
"They're still considered innocent," he said.
Swett said, historically, a high number of the arrestees will appear in court for their arraignment and trial.
Chief Christopher Adams said that working with the drug community and with victims of drug overdoses in general can take its toll on all police officers. He said that often times police must give CPR to someone until emergency crews arrive.
"We keep our eyes and ears open and we have sessions for officers who undergo a particularly stressful or catastrophic event," he said, adding that CPR falls under that category.
Adams went on to say that so far this year, Laconia is doing fairly well, with eight or nine overdoses and one death until this past weekend, when there were four overdoses in the city with one reported fatality. He said that Northfield also reported two overdoses and said the problem is taking its toll everywhere and not just on larger, city police departments.
When asked by Tarr if any of the people who have overdosed on drugs have done it before, Adams said that it is "not uncommon for people to overdose over and over again."
He said there was one man who lived in the city that was administered Narcan by emergency crews about five times last year but he, unfortunately, died.
When Tarr asked if Narcan is the correct way to approach the problem, Adams said it gives addicts a lifeline so they can survive and hopefully seek help or treatment, which could mean waiting for a bed in a rehabilitation facility somewhere in the state.
Adams added that along those lines, Laconia's Prevention, Education, and Treatment Officer Eric Adams will be awarded with the New Hampshirre Public Health Association's annual Friend of Public Health Award at a ceremony on April 13 at the Christa McAuliffe Center in Concord.
Adams will be honored for all of his work within the community helping to get assistance for those who have drug problems and for his outreach efforts to educate people against drugs and drug abuse.
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