Get Tough and Be Dumb Approaches To Addiction Don’t Work

August 9, 2014

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By Terence T. gorski, Author

Originally Published: 9/16/2010 ·

The abuse and addiction to alcohol and other drugs are primarily and health problems, not criminal problems. Alcoholics and Drug Addicts are sick people who need to get well, not bad people who need to be punished. More investment should be made in early intervention and treatment. Enforcement should once again focus upon major producers and dealers. Individual who break the law while using alcohol and other drugs should be punished for the crime they committed and referred to treatment for the related alcohol or drug use disorder. Treatment has proven to be less expensive and more effective than criminal justice interventions. Imprisonment for drug status offenses is the most expensive and least effective way to deal with the nation’s alcohol and drug problems. A primary focus on enforcement at the expense of treatment is a GET TOUGH – BE DUMB policy that has not, cannot, and will not work.

People should be prosecuted for crimes committed under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the only exception being drug status offenses (i.e. personal possession and use). Drunk driving, for example, is a crime and people should be responsible for putting others in harm’s way. Mandatory drunk driving programs that include treatment have much lower recidivism rates than just legal punishment of the drunk driving. Drunk driving is and should be a crime. Public intoxication is not a crime in most states. Separating the symptoms of addiction from other criminal behaviors makes it easier to see when treatment vs. punishment is most appropriate.

We need to separate the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction from criminal behavior. This is hard to do under two conditions:

(1) When people attempt to excuse all criminal behavior as a symptom of addiction and use treatment to avoid punishment; and

(2) When all alcohol and drug use is viewed as a crime to be severely punished under the mistaken belief that punishment will somehow cure addiction.

To make these distinctions we need to carefully think about our drug laws, the war on drugs, and the diagnostic standards used for both addiction and antisocial personality disorder.

Getting convicted of a drug felony can be a real buz-killer when looking for a job in a a crumbling economy. It seems like in America today no one can ever repay their debt to society. I know addicts with over 20 years of sobriety who were arrested and convicted on drug status offenses for personal possession and use who still find it to be a problem when trying to get a job or a security clearance.

“Only alcoholics or addicts can make themselves sober responsible people. The only thing the legal system can do is make them miserable if they refuse to try.” — Judge Dennis Challeen

http://www.relapse.org

GORSKI BOOKS: www.relapse.org


Political Decisions and Addiction

December 19, 2013

20131219-025004.jpg By Terence T. Gorski, Author
December 19, 2013

“All decisions are political decisions if they involve people and shared resources.” – Former Senator Harold Hughes

Political decisions affect us all. This is because they determine how the shared or collective resources of a group or organization are to be used or spent. People concerned about how
the resources are spent form together in special interest groups. Like-mind groups may form into a political party.

There are two primary characteristics that determine if a decision is political.

1. Is the decision beings made by more that one person, each having different ideas about what the best or right idea is?

2. Does the decision involve the use of shared resources in the form of money, people, infrastructure, or other valuable resources?

In the United States, I have heard people say that “we don’t have money to treat addiction properly and effectively.”

This is no an inaccurate statement. The accurate statement is: “we choose to invest our shared money and resources in other things and then give addicted people and their families the what is left over.”

Who is the “we” making these decisions? The “we” is usually a politician or their designate or some bureaucrat working in an agency of government who is doing the bidding of a politician.

It is important to become a strong voice in advocating for a public health addiction policy. This means redirecting funds from the war on drugs and investing more in prevention, early intervention, treatment, and relapse prevention.

Massive amounts if money are being spent on the War on Drugs. This is s failed strategy that has not, is not, cannot, and will not work in effectively managing the alcohol and drug epidemic in the USA. These resources would be best redirected into a public health addiction policy that focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment, and relapse management.

Your voice can make a difference. No one can speak your voice except you. I will close with longer statement from Harold Hughes from a private conversation in 1985.

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“Every decision is a political decision. Will water come out of your kitchen faucet when you turn it on? Will the waste products go down the drain when you flush your toilet? Will the waste products flushed down the toilet come out in the kitchen sink? All of these things depend upon not one, but many political decisions influenced by many special interest groups.

“If the current trends in making ill-conceived political decisions regarding alcoholism and addiction continues, it is only a matter of time before the waste products of too much punishment and too little treatment will start to flow into the kitchen sinks of our communities.” ~ Senator Harold Hughes, deceased. In a private conversation with Terence T. Gorski in 1985. Senator Hughes authored the legislation that founded NIAAA and NIDA.

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Drug War Policy: Get Tough and Be Dumb Approaches To Addiction That Don’t Work

October 30, 2013

October 30, 2013

BARS_Black_HandsThe abuse and addiction to alcohol and other drugs are primarily and health problems, not criminal problems. Alcoholics and Drug Addicts are sick people who need to get well, not bad people who need to be punished. More investment should be made in early intervention and treatment.

Enforcement should once again focus upon major producers and dealers. Individual who break the law while using alcohol and other drugs should be punished for the crime they committed and referred to treatment for the related alcohol or drug use disorder.

Treatment has proven to be less expensive and more effective than criminal justice interventions.  Imprisonment for drug status offenses is the most expensive and least effective way to deal with the nation’s alcohol and drug problems. A primary focus on enforcement at the expense of treatment is a GET TOUGH – BE DUMB policy that has not, cannot, and will not work.

People should be prosecuted for crimes committed under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the only exception being drug status offenses (i.e. personal possession and use). Drunk driving, for example, is a crime and people should be responsible for putting others in harm’s way. Mandatory drunk driving programs that include treatment have much lower recidivism rates than just legal punishment of the drunk driving. Drunk driving is and should be a crime. Public intoxication is not a crime in most states. Separating the symptoms of addiction from other criminal behaviors makes it easier to see when treatment vs. punishment is most appropriate.

We need to separate the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction from criminal behavior.  This is hard to do under two conditions:

(1) When people attempt to excuse all criminal behavior as a symptom of addiction and use treatment to avoid punishment; and

(2) When all alcohol and drug use is viewed as a crime to be severely punished under the mistaken belief that punishment will somehow cure addiction.

To make these distinctions we need to carefully think about our drug laws, the war on drugs, and the diagnostic standards used for both addiction and antisocial personality disorder.

Getting convicted of a drug felony can be a real buzz-killer when looking for a job in a crumbling economy. It seems like in America today no one can ever repay his or her debt to society. I know addicts with over 20 years of sobriety who were arrested and convicted on drug status offenses for personal possession and use who still find it to be a problem when trying to get a job or a security clearance.

“Only alcoholics or addicts can make themselves sober responsible people.
The only thing the legal system can do 
is to make them miserable if they refuse to try.”
~  Judge Dennis Challeen ~

GORSKI BOOKS: www.relapse.org – GORSKI TRAINING: www.cenaps.com

GORSKI ON FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/GorskiRecovery

LIVE SOBER – BE RESPONSIBLE – LIVE FREE


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