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Decriminalize Addiction



In regards to "The Cost of Getting Clean," (June 20) I find it appalling that we can find money (trillions) to fight unnecessary wars, keep a bloated military budget going, subsidize large corporations, etc. and we cannot find the money to adequately fund programs like the Detox Center (and so many others) in our county/state/country.

We need to come together on programs like this to make sure that we support them. The real question is what is the cost of people not getting clean? Homelessness, crime, death, wasted lives. I would prefer more of my tax dollars to go to programs like the Detox Center than the others above. In other countries these programs are funded, for there is a shared value that people take care of each other as a community. In our country the prevailing paradigm is every person for themselves and if you don't have the money for treatment, too bad. Every person for themselves does not make a community that I want to live in.

I am not the first person that says that we need to reframe our conceptions of alcohol and drug (and all other) abuse and addiction as a public health issue, not a crime. We need to assist people to heal what brings them to become so self-destructive and therefore destructive to society instead of punishing them, if for no other reason than it doesn't work because it doesn't address the issue. The incidence of addiction is widespread. Let's make the funds available to address the real causes and stop criminalizing and ruining people's lives.

Wage Peace.

Lynn Kerman, Eureka

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