The Never Ending Debate On the Proper Approach
“For too long we’ve viewed drug addiction through the lens of criminal justice,” Obama said at a conference in Atlanta. “The most important thing to do is reduce demand. And the only way to do that is to provide treatment – to see it as a public health problem and not a criminal problem.”
Content Source: The Guardian
Two schools of knowledge exist when it comes to what approach must be done towards the societal problem of illegal drug addictions.
Some people believe that people who are addicted to drugs must be sent to prison. Another group believes that they must be treated the same way other sick people should be, through rehabilitation.
This post shall try to shed light on which path towards battling drug addiction should society follow.
Rehabilitating Drug Addicts Is Financially Smart for a Country
A study on the topic is shown in the journal Crime and Delinquency. It has found that sending drug addicts into rehabilitation facilities can save countries not just millions of dollars, but billions. This other post in our website shows cheaper method in rehabilitation.
The same study shows that if just as little as 10% of drug addicts in the US were rehabilitated instead of imprisoned, the US can save as much as $4.8 billion per year. Raise it to 40%, and the country is looking at an annual savings of $12.9 billion a year.
Imprisonment Is More Likely To Worsen A Drug Addict Than Fix Them
Everyone knows that prisons are dangerous for any individual. It is not an ideal place to rehabilitate a person’s addiction. This is because drug addiction is not a choice.
It is more of a biological function that cannot be removed just by plainly punishing a person. Check out another post on the dangers of incarceration to alcohol addicts.
A study has shown that 90% of incarcerated drug users went back to drugs almost immediately. The same study has shown that 60-80% of them will commit another crime. This video shows how much better it is to send drug users to rehabs than to prison.
The 1920’s Alcohol Prohibition Should Serve As A Lesson
In 1919 the 18th Amendment in the US has been ratified. It aimed to prohibit the use of alcohol in the whole United States. The amendment, however, had incredibly backfired. It gave more power to alcohol cartels and syndicates due to the higher prices and rarity of alcohol.
The same can be seen in developing countries such as the Philippines where drugs are over-criminalized. The Philippines is currently undergoing something called a “War on Drugs”. Unknowingly, their government has made their streets more violent than it was before the war started.
Different countries have tried addressing drug abuses in their sovereignty by applying an iron fist. Sadly, many authorities are unwilling to realize the negative effects of this approach to their communities.
Hopefully, by educating both the private and public sector, everyone will eventually realize that treatment is better than imprisonment.