Pubdate: Sun, 08 Sep 2019
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2019 The New York Times Company


In highlighting Seattle's new approach to drug possession, Nicholas
Kristof makes a compelling case that it is past time to adopt a public
health approach to addiction, but he is too narrow in his conclusions.
When we view the war on drugs strictly though the lens of drug
possession, we fail to include people who need help the most: those
who have committed crimes driven by their addiction and/or mental
health disorder and who face incarceration as a result (crimes
including D.U.I., theft, property crimes). These individuals
desperately need treatment but are not eligible for diversion via
programs like LEAD, which typically only address drug possession.

Treatment courts - including drug court, D.W.I. court and veterans
treatment court - offer an alternative to incarceration and a path to
recovery. They connect participants with evidence-based treatment and
other services in their community, including housing, employment and
family reunification. Research confirms the majority of those who
complete treatment courts go on to live healthy, productive lives.
When considering a public health approach to addiction, treatment
courts must be part of the solution.

Carson Fox
Alexandria, Va.

The writer is chief executive of the National Association of Drug
Court Professionals.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt