It is finally time that the president selects a “drug czar” who is actually familiar with the disease of addiction and has a background in treatment of this disease as well as pharmacology. For too long we have left these crucial decisions to the uninformed and those who do not have the addicts’ best interest at heart.
Addiction, including alcohol, is a disease and should be approached as a medical problem, not a legal one. I can’t even imagine how much money we have wasted by incarcerating users and small-time dealers.
We must face reality. Thirty-day treatment programs are a joke. People who have been using for 19 years or more are not going to heal in the traditional 30-day model, only to be sent back to their drug-infested environments.
We need long-term treatment, job training, education and relocation. In the meantime, we must quit treating addiction as a legal problem and approach it as a medical issue. Hopefully President Obama will have the insight to realize that this vicious cycle will end only when we take the appropriate measures to finally do the right thing.