How to Fix Drug Courts

But to make the courts work in practice, states need to see that they’re adequately funded and properly run. Typically, states offer drug courts as an alternative to prison for addicts who are arrested for nonviolent crimes only: In exchange for pleading guilty, a defendant can spend a year undergoing assessment, treatment and monitoring. Crucially, this opportunity is offered under the threat of sanctions (including jail time) for not following the program…

Many drug courts also need better management. Consider that judges, rather than physicians or other medical professionals, determine people’s treatment…

Indeed, a 2013 study found that two-thirds of drug courts prevented those who had been using illegal opioids from being treated with methadone or similar medication, often on the mistaken belief that such drugs prolong addiction…

My comment:

It seems we’ve gathered a lot of information and statistics for how the drug court system works. Since the opioid war is being blamed on pain patients and their doctors, what I’d like to know is how many of these tragic souls who end up in drug court are classified as suffering from addiction and how many are classified as chronic pain patients? How many of these drug war victims are suffering from depression, bipolar, PTSD, homelessness, or grief?

Let’s say I’m a 25-year-old woman who was abused as a child and have never dealt with it. I’ve been drinking and partying to block my pain, which exposed me to the variety of drugs that I became addicted to. Now, I’ve been arrested, caught selling 10 Vicodin to a friend, and stand in front of a judge in the criminal court system.

This process just increases the shame I feel, not only from my past but from being labeled a criminal for life because of a handful of hydrocodone. Caught in the system, I’m placed in an addiction treatment center, surrounded by other people who know better than anyone else how to find more drugs. Then, I’m given bupe or methadone to treat my addiction, introducing me to new drugs I can use to cover my mental pain.

The reason there is such a high recidivism rate for drug addicts is because the system only tries to treat the addiction, not any of the underlying causes or triggers. In fact, the system appears to create more addicts than it successfully treats.

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