Drug Abuse

Though the war on drugs has not had a tangible impact on crime, treatment for substance use disorders has - Austin Frakt

Drug Abuse

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Declaring Addiction a Health Crisis Could Change Criminal Justice


For the first time ever, a sitting U.S. surgeon general has declared substance abuse a public-health crisis. “It’s time to change how we view addiction,” Vivek Murthy said in a statement last week, which was accompanied by a lengthy report on the issue. “Not as a moral failing, but as a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency and compassion. The way we address this crisis is a test for America.”

Murthy’s statement is a major victory for those advocates who have long hoped addiction would be viewed through a physical- and mental-health lens. But this new approach—if it were to become widespread—could also profoundly impact the criminal-justice system, where addicts…

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Last Updated : Sunday, October 17, 2021