Amazing Grace –
JULY 11, 2019 -A study of more than 1,300 injecting drug users in Baltimore from 1988 to 2000 examined this problem. Researchers examined demographic factors, drug use patterns, and even whether the person sought drug treatment. The authors write, “Of great interest is that only a history of incarceration differentiated persons who successfully stopped using drugs from those who continued to use injection drugs over a 12-year period.”
This bears repeating. The only factor that distinguished those who successfully stopped using drugs from those who continued to use was this: Those who stopped had not gone to prison. It doesn’t have to be this way. Portugal, in 2001, became the first and only country in the world that has gone to the extreme of decriminalizing all drugs for personal use. Drugs aren’t legal, but if someone is caught with a small amount, there are only civil fines to be paid. Money that had been used for incarceration and the criminal justice system has been reallocated to outreach and treatment programs.