Essex County District Attorney Essex Jonathan Blodgett has served since 2003.
One of the first things he did when he was elected was to call then Lynn Police Chief John Suslak and ask what the biggest problem was. He was told it was Heroine, drugs and addiction.
“There is no one answer for this problem,” said Blodgett.
“It’s not a crime to have a drug addiction. It’s the crimes that are committed by people who have this disease to keep up with their addiction, (that lands them in jail),” said Blodgett.
Blodgett went on to talk about the success of Drug Court and the miracle it can be for people who make it through the program. As of now, 700 people have finished the North Shore Drug court program and stayed out of the criminal court system.
In Lynn, Blodgett has teamed up with the School Department and created the All-Star Program to help with children and teens who live in a house where addiction is a problem. Blodgett wants to expand this program to Peabody. He asked the chamber members for help and funding.
Blodgett also spoke about mandatory minimum sentences, asking the Chamber members to speak with their delegates to not repeal the laws. “We are not housing wrongly accused drug users or sellers,” said Blodgett, who went on to say that police and the DA know the difference between someone selling drugs to support their addiction and someone selling drugs to make a profit.