Medicine/Healing

To win the war on drugs, we must redefine ‘tough on crime’

What explains the mysterious gap between the 10 percent of drug users who sink into addiction and the 90 percent who don’t? It’s the experience of unresolved childhood trauma. And why does childhood trauma make you so much more likely to become an addicted adult?

While the lock-’em-up mindset may be viscerally satisfying to some and make for good campaign trail rhetoric, it also creates terrible consequences for society – consequences far worse than anything caused by the individual users themselves.

No matter one’s philosophical persuasion or political stripes, surely all would now agree that the war on drugs, as it has been waged so far, has been a costly failure. Its impact on both public safety and the size and scope of government leave little to be proud of. The price of this war can be counted in body bags, decimated families, lost generations of children and staggering costs to taxpayers. Research has shown that the child of a prison inmate is seven times more likely to be incarcerated in the future than is the child of someone who does not spend time behind bars. By incarcerating small-time users, we have broken up families, greatly increased the likelihood that spouses and children will fall into the social services safety net, and set up a generation of children for failure. Addicts rarely receive effective drug treatment behind bars, and when they are released they have a diminished opportunity to build lives as productive members of society.

Original Article (The Hill):
To win the war on drugs, we must redefine ‘tough on crime’
Artwork Fair Use: Public Domain

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