OPINION: Chorus Denounces FL Governor’s Stone Age Addictions Veto

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
04/13/2012 -ATIN  We agree with a growing chorus of reaction to the governor of Florida’s stone age approach to addictions policy, and that the state legislature should override his absurd veto of a very modest program to switch out treatment for jail in the state. Florida is in fact WAY behind the curve on this one, as state after state – accelerated as we at Treatment Magazine years ago said it would be by proliferating budget crises – mandates treatment instead of incarceration for non-violent offenders. As Americans, we swagger around proclaiming we are the Land of Liberty when in fact we have turned ourselves, ever since Nixon launched the Drug War, into one of the world’s premiere police states, with a rate of incarceration that is by a factor of ten the world’s highest. Behind the absurd situation are drug laws that put an emphasis on punishment and drug supply disruption, vs treatment and demand management, that are obvious and complete failures. The very modest steps that states have taken to reverse this – the Florida bill would have affected just a few hundred prisoners in a state with hundreds of thousands behind bars – don’t go nearly far enough. And the Prison Industrial Complex, the dangerous group – prison guards, etc…- that claim to be protecting us by opposing drug law liberalization when the only thing they are protecting is their own jobs, is a malignant force in state capitals whose power must be counterbalanced if reform is to move forward. We in the treatment industry must decide whether we are part of the solution or part of the problem.  Rich and influential foundation boards like Caron and Hazelden need to come out loudly against policies of punishment and interdiction that are, frankly, barbaric. They have allowed our governments to massively erode our civil liberties in the name of a completely phony threat, ruined countless millions of lives by creating a nation of felons, both indicted and unindicted, and cost exorbitant sums that yield virtually no return. We in America are facing a Man in the Mirror moment, and it’s time for us in the treatment industry, who understand so much, to help the rest of our fellow citizens to understand while pushing them “to make that change.”


George Will’s Latest Column:  …imprisoning low level dealers is pointless: A $200 transaction costs $100,000 for a three year sentence….