Pubdate: Tue, 06 May 2003
Source: North County Times (CA)
Contact:  2003 North County Times
Author: Laurel Eve Kaskurs 
(Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act)


The concept of Proposition 36 is good: Treatment is better than prison for
nonviolent addicts. There are problems with the legislation, however, which
make it a trap. 

Relapse is part of recovery, studies show. Harsh punishments for relapse ญญ
prison or extended probation ญญ are ineffective. Extending probation means a
greater chance for failing urinalysis tests. Prop. 36 participants aren't
allowed to drink socially even if they're over 21 and their arrest was
unrelated to alcohol. It all leads back to the cage. 

Also, recovery should be attempted on one's own free will, not by force or
threat. This is fundamental, but Prop. 36 is mandatory for release. A
recovering person may be reluctant to attend 12-step meetings later if
they're forced to attend three a day by the courts now. I see no purpose in
wasting tax dollars on people who pose no threat to society. If their
addictions don't cause them to steal or beat their kids and they work for a
living, I'm not that concerned. Why are we trapping them when the intention
was to help them? Teaching job skills would be more productive than forced
meeting attendance. 

Laurel Eve Kaskurs 

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