Everyone is familiar with the idea that the punishment should fit the crime. Most of the laws and consequences of breaking them reflect this principle in our country. When it comes to drugs, this is not the case. While it’s easy to understand why those who distribute these illegal substances actually do deserve to spend some time in prison, about 80% of arrests in this country which are drug related are for possession. Studies prove that addiction is a disease, and it is a disease that needs to be treated. However, instead of sending addicts to rehab for treatment, our justice system sends them to prison.
In the 1980s when the “War on Drugs” was started, the strategy for the criminal justice system was to send all drug-related offenders to prison as a deterrent. This was a way of sending a message about illegal drugs. However, addicts have not gotten the help that they need, and the War on Drugs has not been successful. It has been revealed that viewing addiction and drug use the way we view military problems and treating addicts as if they were soldiers in an army on the opposing side is not an appropriate or helpful approach.
Addiction is a problem that affects individuals. The only way to deal with the addiction epidemic is to allow all addicts the chance to get better. The best way to allow addicts the chance to get better is to allow them to visit rehabilitation facilities like The Recovery Village (http://www.therecoveryvillage.com). Drug rehabilitation facilities that are staffed by addiction specialists and qualified healthcare professionals is essential.
The rates of addiction and drug abuse have not improved over the past thirty years in spite of law enforcers arresting and incarcerating drug users. It is time for lawmakers and politicians to take a stand. It is time for a paradigm shift. Addicts need to receive treatment for their disease. This approach may prove to be expensive. It’s not cheap to send offenders to rehab. However, sending them all to jail is already completely bankrupting our country as it is.