Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rehab v. Prison

Substance abuse is an addiction a disease which can be passed on genetically. People of means have the option of running to a rehab clinic when their addiction leads to very public problems. Brittany Spears, Mel Gibson, Lindsey Lohan are current examples of celebs behaving badly. I really do not see a problem with people getting help for their disease.

My struggle with society is poor or low income people are tossed into jail immediately. Getting "treatment" is the second tier of dealing with this issue. I am sure there are plenty of statistics to support how many crimes involve drugs and alcohol. Let's deal with the abuse as a disease not a crime.

At one point in my career I was a Labor Administrator for a local utility. As the management rep, I can't begin to give justice to financial and emotional toll that substance abuse caused. The utility sent people to rehab twice before an employee was terminated. For some, it took just on stint being away from their friends and family to get it. Others lost their job.

What I don't understand is the stigma associated with drugs that does not surround alchohol. It does not seem fair to me.

I have another radical solution, decriminalize drugs. Alcohol is legal. You are supposed to be 21 to buy alcohol. Let's apply the same rules to drugs. How many adults aren't using drugs because they are illegal? How many violent crimes are drug related?

I would rather see a revolving door at a rehab clinic than a county jail. It is probably cheaper to hire counselors than prison guards.

For the record, I don't drink or do drugs, never did.

No comments: