Follow Up Letter in NYT About “Drug Courts”

By BitcoDavid

On March 2nd, we published a post about Federal judges working to institute Drug Court programs in several states. The Times recently published a follow up letter from an attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Claire Martin Photography Image source ChangeTheThought
Claire Martin Photography 

Here’s that letter as it appeared in the NYT, on March 10th.

Outside Box, U.S. Judges Offer Addicts New Path” (front page, March 2), reported on the benefits of drug courts and their increasing popularity. But enthusiasm for replicating drug courts should be tempered with a healthy dose of caution.

Drug addiction is best treated by health professionals, separate and apart from the criminal justice system. Drug court programs are inherently coercive and typically require defendants to plead guilty (and forgo their trial rights) before they participate in the program.

Drug courts also require participants to be subject to frequent drug testing as an indicator of success in the program. If a person relapses, he is sent to prison.

It is important to question whether the drug court model is best suited to dealing with the particular issues posed by drug addiction. Drug relapses should be met with more intensive services rather than be a pathway to incarceration.

There is no silver bullet for the complex problems posed by drug addiction, and there is no substitute for nuanced, comprehensive and evidence-based drug treatment, however tempting drug court programs may appear to be.

Senior Staff Attorney Drug Policy Alliance
Berkeley, Calif., March 4, 2013

Again, here’s the link to the original piece in the NYT.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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