Confessed Drug Addict Found Unconscious, Faces New Charges
Michael Richards, who was allegedly involved in a summer crime spree, was arrested again last month for alleged heroin use.
A Collingswood man who was jailed last summer after an evening in which he allegedly participated in a drug-fueled double-burglary and hit-and-run apparently has not gotten the help he needed in the county correctional facility.
Michael D. Richards, 33, of Collingswood, a confessed addict who just months ago told his girlfriend—the mother of his two children—that he hoped jail time would help make him "a more productive citizen," was arrested again on drug charges less than two weeks ago.
It started at 3 p.m. on Jan. 20, when Collingswood police officers were dispatched to the 500 block of Cattell Ave. to answer the report of an unconscious person.
In a second-floor bathroom, they located Richards, who was unresponsive and incoherent. Nearby was a silver spoon, hypodermic syringe, and three pink, clear plastic baggies that contained a rock-like substance they believed to be crack-cocaine.
Emergency medical services arrived on the scene shortly after, and Richards admitted to them that he had injected heroin. He was arrested for the possession of paraphernalia and possession of a controlled, dangerous substance (CDS), and was released on summonses because he was seeking medical treatment at the hospital.
When she spoke with Patch in June 2012, Amanda Dougherty, Richards’ girlfriend of 11 years, described the pain of life with a man who is a good father and partner when he's sober, but who "terrorized the town...his mother, his father" when in the grip of his vices.
“I feel bad for him," she said then. "I feel bad for everybody he’s done stuff to.”
Richards isn't the only Collingswood resident to struggle publicly with addiction-related crime. Last summer, Eric J. Pauloski was arrested three times in three weeks for similar offenses. New laws signed by Governor Chris Christie in 2012 offer nonviolent offenders a treatment alternative to jail time, and perhaps both could be eligible for assistance under such a program.
With the number of CDS-related arrests that occur in the borough on a weekly basis, Collingswood residents have to hope their neighbors can get the help they need soon.