MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester Police will start ticketing drivers who give money or another item to panhandlers during a green light.
People living in Manchester have gotten used to panhandlers, and any just try to avoid those begging on the streets.
"Try not to make eye contact, unfortunately, and other times, people just grab you at your heart strings and you give them money,” said Pam Blajda.
That's exactly what Police Chief Enoch Willard does not want people to do.
"These individuals are suffering from the disease of addiction and need intervention and treatment service in hopes of long-term recovery. What the panhandlers do not need is money to be handed to them to facilitate their addiction. This simple act of kindness could very well lead to their overdose or even death," wrote Chief Enoch Willard in an open letter.
According to Manchester Police, from 2015 to June 1, 2017, 24 panhandlers have overdosed, requiring medical intervention, some of whom have overdosed multiple times. Six of the 24 died from their overdose.
Besides enabling them, the chief said that panhandling has also been dangerous on the roads when people are stopping at a green light and other cars continue going, putting drivers and panhandlers at risk.
"It’s an issue we need to address aggressively in this city,” said Mayor Ted Gatsas.