Thursday, September 13, 2007

Incarceration No Cure for Addiction

From the Montgomery Advertiser


Incarceration no cure for addiction

I want to thank Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb publicly for her efforts to ease prison overcrowding and address drug addiction with a more compassionate approach. It is so important for society to realize that addiction is an illness that can be treated and not a crime that needs punishing.

Many of you know me as a voice for drug policy and prison reform in Alabama and as a candidate for governor in 2006. I am also a family member who has witnessed the devastating impact that drugs and alcohol can have on human lives.

I have two brothers -- one in prison and one who just overdosed for the ninth time on methadone provided to him by the VA. I love them both very much, despite their addictions. I know for a fact locking them in prison does not work.

While I am happy to see drug courts expand in Alabama, I fear that they will simply round up pot smokers to fill their treatment beds. Those beds should be kept available for people suffering from addiction to hard drugs like alcohol, methamphetamine, crack/power cocaine and opiates, both pharmaceutical and street versions.

Marijuana should be exempt from all criminal sanctions, police involvement, and court oversight when used responsibly by adults.

Taking responsible adult pot smokers out of the drug court equation will greatly enable the drug courts to better help the people who really need it.

Loretta Nall
Alexander City

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