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Letter: Spend more on treatment, not jail

The writer is responding to an article in Wednesday’s paper, “Treatment is needed on opioids, Stein says.”

If this state or nation took one-third of the money spent on locking citizens up for drug-related offenses or mental issues and used it instead for treatment, our state and nation would be a much better place to live.

Most of these individuals can’t post bail. They are then trapped in our legal system’s archaic due process, where most will have to get court-appointed attorneys whose caseload is so great they have very little time to actually represent individuals in the manner they deserve.

Most will be trapped in a revolving door, returning to jail on similar offenses because they never receive any real help for their addiction or mental health issues. Jail and prison personnel are stuck dealing with those issues, and they are ill-equipped to do so. Our legal system is broken.

We can and should hold doctors responsible for the prescriptions they write, but shouldn’t we hold the pharmaceutical companies and our lawmakers in Washington accountable as well? After all, those companies’ lobbying and marketing created the majority of this epidemic. Purdue Pharma is making billions from this epidemic. They withheld the dangers and addictive properties of Oxycontin.

Let’s not forget about all the lobbying that was done for this drug and the lawmakers who knew the dangers but looked the other way. These people should be held accountable for this mess. Will they? Probably not. All you have to do is look at the jails and prisons to see who is held accountable. Not to mention the families.

Better than 80 percent of inmates are there because of drug offenses. As I said, if we took just a third of the money spent on locking people up and used it for treatment, we would be on our way within 10 years of stopping this trend.

— Will Maynard

Salisbury

Comments

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