Court Eyes Drug-Free Probation Order Challenge

Maura Healey (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts’ attorney general has urged the state’s highest court not to prevent judges from ordering people with addiction to remain drug free as a condition of probation.

Assistant Attorney General Maria Granik told the Supreme Judicial Court on Monday that drug-free requirements can reduce incarceration rates and help people recover from addiction.

The closely-watched case was brought by a woman who was sent to jail after testing positive for fentanyl days into her probation for larceny. She says it’s unfair to punish people with addiction for something beyond their control.

Attorney Lisa Newman-Polk told the court that requiring someone with substance use disorder to be drug free is effectively ordering them to be in “remission of one’s addiction.”

The court is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks.

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