Pubdate: Tue, 30 Jun 2015
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2015 Asbury Park Press
Author: Randy Thompson


The State of New Jersey is funding several reforms in the name of 
abandoning the failed "war on drugs." These reforms include forcing 
Drug Court (DC), funding re-entry services and retrofitting jails as 
treatment centers. There is only one problem; these reforms actually 
fund the "war on drugs."

The key tenet of the "war on drugs" is criminalizing people who use 
drugs and stripping rights from them via arrest, incarceration and 
institutionalization. These "reforms" are all post-arrest, 
post-incarceration, and leave failed drug criminalization in tact.

This approach reinforces the belief that the criminal justice system 
is an appropriate institution for people with substance use 
disorders. The criminal justice system is a dangerous place and it 
consumes resources.

The FY 2016 State Budget proposes another $8.5 million to expand 
forced Drug Court to Monmouth County. The DC program cannot answer 
simple questions like how many people have died in the program or how 
many are there for marijuana use, meanwhile people suffering from 
heroin cannot get help in the community. In 2012, two thousand 
Monmouth County residents could not get treatment for substance use 
making this is a dangerous appropriation.

At best this policy continues a hurtful cycle where people who need 
help cannot get it unless, or until, there is an arrest. At worst 
this is intentionally continuing the "war on drugs" which is a war on 
people. Stop arresting and forcing treatment, offer Help Not Handcuffs.

Randy Thompson

Campaign Manager

Help Not Handcuffs

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