Pubdate: Tue, 28 Jun 2005
Source: Press Journal  (Vero Beach, FL)
Copyright: 2005, The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Michael Reese


A lot of our crimes today are committed by people with drug
addictions. I'm not trying to justify the fact, but their addiction
primarily caused them to commit crimes.

Yet it's even more serious than that. It's a sickness that's very hard
to cure if you have someone to help you, even when you seriously want
to stop -- like myself.

Our jails are crowded with non-violent drug users and our justice
system is constantly overlooking this problem. You have people begging
for rehab, like myself, but no one hears us.

Our justice system sends us to prison, which only delays our
addiction, because we're in desperate need of treatment. Once we're
released, 80 percent of us are drugging the first day, then we're back
in jail for the same things.

Addicts don't realize they're addicts when they're on the streets
because it's very hard to realize when you're drinking and drugging to
your desire. It's only when they fall that they realize that they
seriously need help.

I think it's only fair that our justice system at least once give our
addicts the opportunity to seek help through a court-ordered rehab
because a lot of us are serious about wanting help for our addiction.
I'm sure it won't be 100 percent, but whatever that percentage is, at
least it would be a start and a change.

Families, it doesn't stop there. We need you in the courtrooms asking
or begging for help for your addict because someone you love is about
to lose their freedom. Together we stand, divided we fall. Let's bring
unity between our addictions and the justice system. What do we have
to lose? Maybe it's something we've gained.

Michael Reese

Vero Beach
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