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Letter: Court should not waste services on non-addicts

Court should not waste services on non-addicts

Many drug offenders are referred to Drug Court, mandating participation in addiction recovery services as an attractive alternative to prison. Frequently, they are not addicts. They gain little benefit from recovery services, but consume resources and clog the system.

Persons suffering from addiction can be diagnosed and distinguished from non-addicts. Addiction is a physical shaping of the brain. It creates an intense biological demand for a chemical. It is often accompanied by uncontrollable, sometimes pathological behaviors. Effective treatments exist.

As it is, the $15 billion addiction recovery industry has only a 5 to 10 percent success rate. Whatever benefit this system delivers should not be wasted on drug convicts who lack a proper medical diagnosis of addiction.

Better diagnosis of addiction is needed to direct some drug cases to addiction recovery services, and some to jail, as each case may warrant. Recovery agencies and counselors urgently need updated training in current learning and therapies. Judges and others in the court system need fresh perspective on appropriate use of addiction resources.

David J.G. Chambers

Attorney and Counselor at Law

Buffalo