Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jul 2005
Source: Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
Copyright: 2005 Bristol Herald Courier
Author: Judith Mills
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


For the past year, our community has received reports of an increase 
in illicit drug use, both of "home-brewed" methamphetamines and abuse 
of prescription pain killers. Crime has increased dramatically due to 
the desparation of our addicted residents. Our jails are overcrowded 
and repeat offenders are a large percentage of the jail population. 
Incarceration does not seem to be working as a deterrent to drug abuse.

Addiction is a physical illness as well as a social, spiritual and 
psychological problem. Jail doesn't treat cancer or diabetes, so it 
would not make sense to expect the jail system to treat addiction. 
Drug courts, which include mandated treatment, have much better 
numbers regarding repeat offenders, that is, far fewer. The science 
behind addiction treatment has come a long way in the past 10 years 
due to the research that has been done regarding the chemistry of the brain.

The problem that our community faces is that, while we have money for 
new jails, we don't seem to have money for treatment. Our sons, 
daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers deserve a chance 
for treatment. That is who these addicts are: Our families. Without 
treatment, like cancer, this disease is fatal.

Judith Mills, Director of Health Services

Occupational Enterprises Inc.

Lebanon, Va.
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