Dear America: Stop arresting addicts who need help.

Rehabilitation, not prison, is the answer


Jacob Corrente, Staff Writer

In America, there are over 20 million people who struggle with drug addiction. Of those 20 million, 8.5 million people suffer from a mental health disorder and substance abuse.

These are big numbers and there are a lot of people who have these problems. You might even know a few people struggling with addiction.

I think we should help them recover instead of placing them in prison when they get busted for possession.

Oregon is one of the first states to take steps toward this idea by the decriminalization of drugs like LSD, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Oregon has an issue with the number of homeless people they have in their streets.

Unfortunately, this also led to a big drug problem. So many of these people are arrested for possession of small amounts of drugs and their criminal record starts to pile up.

Having a record makes it hard to find an apartment and then you add drug addiction and the fact they’re homeless makes it extremely difficult to find employment so they can get off the streets. So why make life even harder for those who struggle with addiction? Instead of arresting them for having a small number of drugs, put them in a facility that can help them recover.

I agree with what Oregon is doing with the problems that they are facing. The state is favoring rehabilitation over incarceration which is a big step in the right direction. The vote to pass this was by 60% in favor of decriminalization of these drugs. With this measure, those busted with possession will face a $100 fine or they have to complete a health assessment.

The only people who will go to prison in Oregon are the ones who are manufacturing and distributing these drugs. The Oregon Measure 110 includes housing, recovery treatments, and a harm reduction center which was paid with the reallocation of the marijuana tax which is tens of millions of dollars. Oregon believes that over time the convictions related to drug possession would decrease by over 90.7%. Instead of treating drug addicts as criminals, they recognize their disease and strive to get them the help they deserve. 

You see drug use tear families apart all over the world. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. It is a major issue in our world today and we need to find a solution to this problem.

Over 270 million people in the world have some type of drug problem or dependency so you never know what the person next to you is going through.

I think putting addicts in prison is pointless. You place them in these jails just so they get out and repeat the same cycle. If you’re going to lock these people up, place them in rehab centers so they can receive the help that they need.

Oregon’s new measure hasn’t been in effect for too long as it is rather new so there aren’t many statistics on how it has gone so far. But I believe that if they see positive outcomes then most of the United States should adopt this new law.