People don't abuse substances because they are bored, looking for stimulation, stressed, or prone to self-medicating. While these are the usual suspects promoted by psychology texts, media, even bloggers, they rarely bear fruit.
Every so often someone writes me about how to respond to a friend with a prescription drug addiction. Wanting to ask someone with far more experience than I have on this painful subject, I interviewed Michelle Dunbar, executive director of St. Jude Retreats.
When it comes to addiction, every option should be on the table. That's just common sense. Anything that works, or shows great promise, however we feel about it, must at least be discussed -- seriously and carefully.
That addiction is a disease means that we can do something about it, to prevent it, to treat it and take responsibility to self-manage it. David Sheff captures this eloquently in his book, and I work each day to spread the message that successful treatment and recovery are possible.
Instead of sending technical parole violators back to prison for technical parole violations, the offenders are instead redirected to community corrections centers which cost the state less money than it would to incarcerate an offender in a state prison.
Law enforcement is not blame for the actions of law-breaking addicts who are not receptive to drug treatment. You can only fault law enforcement for their inaction in protecting the public from this element.
Our European counterparts acknowledge the horrific impact drugs have had on their societies, and they continue to pursue more rational policies. Next year, I hope we will join them to assess the damages both drug addiction and drug policy have cost our nation.
Given the state's current political climate, it's unlikely Florida will change its drug paraphernalia laws any time soon, which means the residents of inner city Miami will need to continue to watch their step.
Scant attention has been paid to the UN and international donors' human rights obligations and ethical responsibilities with respect to drug control efforts they support, or indeed to safeguards to prevent them from effectively facilitating human rights abuses with their support.
It's about time more states recognized that low-level drug users are often victims who need help to fight their addictions. As we've said before, incarceration does the opposite of what we want to accomplish -- it turns those nonviolent users into criminals.
It's not that there aren't millions or even tens of millions of Americans that are trying to solve our problems creatively and help create a just and egalitarian society, it's just that they have no power or voice. Consider the drug war.
The drug war is forty years old this year. It's time to step back and ask ourselves what's the best way to solve the problem we're trying to solve -- how to reduce drug abuse and addiction -- and use the best available evidence to guide us.
You cannot present yourself as a proponent of a public health approach while simultaneously advocating the aggressive pursuit, arrest, and imprisonment of people who might need help with a health problem.