- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - The police chief in Manchester, New Hampshire, says the top complaint he gets is panhandling, and he’s urging people to give money to a place that can help panhandlers, instead, like a food pantry or a recovery center.

Chief Nick Willard, in a letter to the community Wednesday, said he understands that people who give panhandlers money do so from a place of generosity, but do they question whether it will be used for drugs or alcohol?

Willard said city police records show that 24 people involved in panhandling have overdosed from 2015 to June 1; six of them died. He said not all, but many panhandlers suffer from addiction, and that a simple act of kindness could lead to an overdose, or death.

He says donations would be better utilized by agencies that deal with such problems as homelessness, mental illness, and addiction.

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