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Opiate Addicts Need Treatment Not Jail

You read about the problem on a daily basis. It is seen on the news and discussed as being one of the worst epidemics our country has ever experienced. The leading cause of accidental death is now drug overdoses with the overwhelming majority of them being caused by opiates. How did we let this problem grow so out of control that we are losing our citizens at such alarming rates? Why are people from perfect upbringings and privileged lives dying from drug overdoses? What is causing this problem and how do we fix it?

There is no cut and dry answer as to how we can stop the problem of opiate addiction. Over the past twenty years, we have seen an abundance of prescription painkillers hit the market. Many of them packing a very serious punch of pain relieving capabilities. These medications were a Godsend for those who were living lives debilitated due to pain. The problem began to grow when the prescription pills fell into the wrong hands. When the medications began to be so liberally prescribed, patients who normally would never need an opiate painkiller were being prescribed them. This just did not happen in the early 1990’s. Times changed and there was a push to prescribe more and more and to not have any American live with pain.

The push of prescription painkillers started a problem that has not been slowed down and does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. We have crime rates climbing in small towns and if you interview the police chief for these towns, they will more than likely attribute it to the prescription painkiller or heroin problem. I hear it on a daily basis, that the pills and heroin are everywhere, they have made their way into areas that never had drug problems before. People who were successful and happy are now strung out and committing crimes to get their next fix.

How do we help those who are breaking the law in order to feed their addiction? The War On Drugs has been locking up people and charging them with possession charges for a very long time. The most disturbing trend is the numbers have never gotten better by doing this, in fact, they have gotten worse. Locking up addicts for their crimes is not working, treatment needs to be an alternative for those who want help.

You can put an addict in a cell for their crime, but if you do not provide treatment for their problem, they will do their time and go back out and use and do it all over again. The revolving door lifestyle is very real for those who do not receive the help they need. More jails need to implement programs to help these people and doing so will make your town a safer and more desirable place to live.


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