Mainers Want to See More Treatment and Less Jail Time for Drug Offenders
Addiction is no joke.
As you read this, you're probably already envisioning someone in your life who suffers from some kind of addiction. For some folks that can be everyday things like food or cigarettes or alcohol. Or even exercise. Generally speaking, most of these things won't land you in jail. But drug charges can be entirely different.
Without going down a rabbit hole about the nation's drug laws, suffice it to say, there are plenty of people who end up in jail because of their addiction, not because they're drug dealers. There are plenty of people in the prison system who aren't really criminals, just lost in life and trying to cope by any means possible.
But does it make sense to throw an addict in jail?
Sure, there are lots of examples of addicts who commit crimes to get drugs, and those crimes should be dealt with according to the law. No one should get a free pass. But what if you're only crime was simple possession? Is sending an otherwise harmless drug addict to jail going to promote getting healthy? Probably not.
Shame is a motivating factor for addicts. Throwing them in jail will only add fuel to that fire. Mainers, across party lines, are beginning to think maybe jail isn't the best answer. According to Maine Public, the University of Maine conducted a survey of Mainers and found almost 75% of us thought treatment options were a much better alternative.
With jail, you're potentially putting another addict right back out on the street, anxious to use. But if more treatment options were available, maybe we could reverse the process more. Less addicts, means less people buying drugs. Which obviously means less people doing them. That's really the goal, right?