Melissa Montague. Professor Robert Peach. English 100.

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Melissa Montague
Professor Robert Peach
English 100
18 May 2017

Addiction Requires Treatment, Not a Jail Sentence There is no question about it – addiction is a problem. It’s talked about constantly on the news, social media, and even in our own homes. Considering the statistics, that’s not surprising; as of 2012, an estimated 22 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to drugs or alcohol (Friedman 387). The criminalization of the disease of addiction overloads our legal system, disrupts the lives of many families, and limits the success of those who could otherwise be productive members of society. The good news is that there are many different forms of treatment available, so recovery is possible for everyone. We need to
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The system was rocked when the crack cocaine epidemic hit. In 1981, President Reagan enforced stricter penalties for drug offenders, and the nation went from a system of care to a system of criminal justice (Friedman 394). Legal consequences to broken laws are important, but the consequence should match the crime. For instance, a few days in jail for accidentally running a red light would be over the top. Think about how many people could potentially lose their jobs over a traffic violation! But this is happening to many people struggling with addiction. They are charged with possession and given a prison sentence, with lawmakers hoping the time away from drugs will cure them. One major issue is overdose upon release. This is very dangerous to someone in active addiction, because depending on the length of time away from the drug of choice, the addict’s tolerance level could decrease significantly. The problem lies mainly with intravenous drug users and alcoholics, as there is a fine line between injecting or drinking to excess to obtain a high and overdosing (Knezevich). Luckily, many prisons are recognizing this and taking steps to keep it from happening. Offering counseling and support groups for addicts in prison is common, but some prisons are taking a step further to curb the overdose upon release

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