Addiction is a tough one.
The War on Drugs has turned into a War Against the People Addicted to Drugs. Addiction is a complex issue.
Focus on jailing the true criminals. I fully support law enforcement and our task forces in going after cartels, gangs, dealers, and manufacturers. They need and deserve to serve time in prison for the destruction they bring to our society.
But I think you may agree that addiction belongs in its own category.
In our county, nearly 90% of offenders are non-violent, and many are dealing with addiction while they await their day in court. Sometimes for months. Certainly long enough to lose a job, a place to live and destroy their futures.
I started the first pre-filing diversion program in the state—maybe the nation— that allows a contractual agreement, mentoring, and help paid by the participant in an effort to not be labeled a criminal. When we create and label people as criminals we change the trajectory of their lives. We destroy opportunities for rehabilitation, work, housing, and becoming a contributor to society.
We are smart enough to create programs that encourage connections between mentors and participants that result in change. For those tough cases, where someone doesn't want to change? They get to go through the court systems.