On Monday, the Akron Beacon Journal published a thought-provoking article about treating drug addicts rather than sending them to jail. Here’s a few interesting statistics presented in the article to support the case:
- According to federal data, 7.6 million Americans needed treatment for illicit drug use in 2008, and only 1.2 million — or 16 percent — received it.
- Thirty-seven percent of those seeking treatment don’t get it because they can’t pay for it — and many land in prison.
- Counselors often earning less than the $40,000 per year that it costs to keep an inmate in prison in many states.
I asked my students to read the article and give their opinion on whether drug addicts should be helped or jailed. All of them agreed that addicts should be given drug treatment instead of overcrowding jails and prisons. Here’s one student’s opinion:
There should be more treatment for people on drugs. Providing treatment is less expensive. Jail doesn’t help them stop using drugs. There should be treatment centers in every community. Then the people who want help have access to it. They could get the tools they need to stop the addiction. It’s hard trying to quit using something that takes over your mind and body, but with a little, it could be easier. Federal money should be used to start the programs. People can’t stop because they don’t know how to stop. This could fix that problem.
What do you think?
Hi, it’s Krista. Though I’ve been teaching GED classes for 7 years, I just recently began teaching at the Interval Brotherhood Home in Akron. I really enjoy working with the staff and clients here. The staff is very friendly and helpful. And the clients are very courteous and motivated to succeed.
If you’re not familiar with IBH, it is a 60-90 day drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. The treatment is nearly free to Summit County residents, due to local agencies that help with funding. One part of the clients treatment is to work towards their GED, if they need one. Project Learn provides this service.
My students here have given me even more things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Every year my family makes a list of at least 10 things that we are each grateful for and we read our lists during Thanksgiving dinner. My list usually includes the usual: family, health, happiness, etc. This year I am going to include something new, freedom from substances.
I have personally never had to worry about drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I am extremely thankful that I don’t even have to think about avoiding these things; I grew up in an environment that made it easy for me to abstain. I now have a new insight into how fortunate I have been. There are many people out there that have not been as lucky as me.
I have a great respect for the men and women that have to fight their addictions daily. It humbles me to work with such extraordinary people. I’m grateful to Project Learn for giving me the opportunity to teach at IBH. It’s going to be a great year, full of thankfulness.