- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts police officers will soon have the authority to place into protective custody a person who’s believed to be in the throes of a drug overdose, even without their consent.

Supporters of the change recently adopted by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker view it as another tool in combatting an opioid addiction scourge that claimed more than 2,500 lives in the last two years alone.

An individual who is involuntarily placed into protective custody would not be considered under arrest and must be brought to a hospital or other medical facility for treatment as soon as possible. Police would be authorized to use reasonable force to accomplish this, if warranted.

Until now, state law only allowed protective custody for individuals who were judged to be a danger to themselves or others because of alcohol consumption.

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