Drug treatment courts are a feel good innovation for advocates of criminal justice reform that is misleading the public into believing that judges are wiser than doctors concerning the treatment of those with substance use disorder.
If substance use disorder, misuse of drugs and alcohol along with the rising overdose rate is viewed as a health crisis why are drug policies still seeking solutions within the criminal justice system?
As long as individuals are considered criminals for using drugs, and are not included in advocacy for drug education, harm reduction and recovery, stigma will continue to drive policy, access to health care, research and treatment options.
The continued stigmatization of those with drug and alcohol abuse have perpetuated a drug treatment court system that is hiding and destroying data that does not match the image of their marketing agents.
The stigma of those with drug and alcohol abuse as both sick and bad continues to drive the court to force both cure and punishment. Under this stigma, drug treatment courts will continue to funnel participants to ineffective court sponsored programs that monitor behavior masked as a cure.
No mother should have to face what I've had to -- the death of a promising and cherished son. We need to hold drug courts accountable to protect everyone who needs them. No one should face punishment for seeking lifesaving treatment.