How To Decriminalize Rehabilitation

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Rehabilitation is the Answer: Prescription Opioid Abusers in the U.S. Pam from New Smyrna Beach, Florida’s first memory of treatment was a sign that read: "We are not bad people trying to be good. We are sick people trying to get well” (Chheng). Drug abuse is a problem that has affected society for years. More recently, the war on drugs has decreased the number of illicit drugs within the population, creating a new, growing problem in the process. According the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, opioid painkiller overdose deaths have tripled since 1999. Opioids are synthetic or natural chemicals that give the user a feeling of euphoria when taken at larger doses. They are usually prescribed for pain relief or as cough suppressants.…show more content…
While this policy would not make prescription opioid abuse legal, it would remove the criminal charges associated with breaking the law (Kwiatkowski 2000). Some may argue that this makes the law pointless or that it will increase the number of addicts, but the opposite is actually true. One desirable side-effect of the decriminalization of prescription opioid abuse is that it allows drug addicts to seek help without fear of legal retaliation. Additionally, the decriminalization of prescription opioid misuse would save the government and tax payers millions of dollars each year. This money could instead be used to fund programs aimed at prevention or rehabilitation. Drug abuse and addiction affect every aspect of society. Prisons do not effectively improve societal well-being. They cause more harm to inmates, families, and communities. The status quo is not working. When rehabilitation and other programs replace prison sentences, society will be…show more content…
According to Immanuel Kant, criminals ought to be punished for their wrongdoings. Essentially, it is unacceptable and unjust for a person to escape the consequences of their actions. In order for balance to be restored, a perpetrator must receive their just deserts (Walen 2014). However, it is important to recognize that many factors of crime and addiction are out of the control of the individual. For example, a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey found that in 2005, “64 percent of jailed inmates self-reported as having some kind of mental illness” (Ollove 2015). Those “with serious psychiatric illness may be more likely to abuse drugs than most other sectors of the population” and “they may continue to do so even after being admitted to [the] hospital” (Wills 2005). Additionally, poverty, education, and family environments have large impacts on levels of crime. For these reasons, true justice requires that any punishment or consequence take these other factors into

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