There is a drug crisis in the United States and it's affecting all of us, even non-users.
Intoxicants have been popular since early civilization, but few of these were as addictive as modern opiods. Drug manufacturers have chemically ramped up the pain-killing and addictive components of these pain-killers to the point that they work incredibly well on both counts.
Modern pain-killers are between three and ten times more potent than their organic predecessors.
While these pain-killers have greatly improved the health of patients who undergo a major surgery or have suffered traumatic injury, they pose an incredible danger to those who abuse IV drugs, and since most drugs can be melted into a liquid and injected, the instances of death by overdose have skyrocketed.
The media has made occasional attempts to cover this crisis, but, finding it doesn't draw rating like the "Russia probe" or various porn stars and the president, the story is often left by the wayside.
President Donald Trump has appointed a blue ribbon panel to study the crisis, but it's largely a public relations effort and has no real mission.
Meanwhile, people are dying -- and they're going to jail.
Alabama is one of many states which have created what are called "drug courts" to try and address the problem. Drug courts are a method by which people who have been arrested for drugs, and who have a severe drug problem, are placed in a program.
A judge oversees a system of drug counseling, drug testing, therapy and day-to-day supervision to try and wean the offender off of drugs. There is a carrot and stick approach. The offender who does well, breaks his addiction, and completes the program gets his criminal case dismissed. The offender who doesn't cooperate and "fails out" of the program is prosecuted and faces significant prison time.
From a legal standpoint, drug courts are unique. While most state constitutions don't assign judges the role of therapist in chief, the courts have recognized that drug courts can serve as a way to rescue redeemable people from their addictions. Recidivism rates are high, but there are signs the percentage of people who re-offend is dropping.
Lawyers, too, have come to the realization that drug courts are a viable alternative for desperate clients who want to avoid prison.
The problem is becoming one of supply and demand. The number of people addicted to opiods is skyrocketing and there are only so many drug courts available.
Opiod addiction is no longer the milieu of street dealers, pimps and prostitutes. Nearly every family in the USA has one relative who is addicted to pain-killers.
More resources must be allocated to the reduction in the availability of opiods on the market and the treatment of those addicted to them.
This will require increased spending of tax dollars to fund intervention and treatment programs and to fund drug court operations for addicts who are arrested on drug charges.
(Required by Alabama law: No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed is greater than other lawyers.)
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