The AP has a story â€” Expanding drug treatment: Is US ready to step up? by David Crary â€” about treatment, its relative value compared to enforcement, and how states are hesitant to, as Scott Burns says, “put their money where their mouth is.”
As is often the case in articles like this one, plenty of mention is given to the fact that treatment saves money.
The economic case for expanding treatment, especially amid a recession, seems clear. Study after study concludes that treating addicts, even in lengthy residential programs, costs markedly less than incarcerating them, so budget-strapped states could save millions.
However, what’s always missing is the rather obvious corollary that the money needed for expanding treatment could come from enforcement budgets, rather than needing new funds.
Nobody is willing to actually talk about that part.
One of those in the article pushing for more emphasis on treatment dollars (without calling for less emphasis on anything else) is deputy drug czar Tom McLellan.
McLellan, insisting he’s not “a wild-eyed liberal,” said expanding treatment wouldn’t negate the war on drugs.
“Law enforcement is necessary, but it’s not sufficient,” he said.
Interesting that a man appointed by a Democrat would feel it necessary to claim that he’s not a “wild-eyed liberal” holding positions like that held by William F. Buckley, Jr., Ron Paul, Walter Cronkite, all those former cops and judges in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, clergy in the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative, Republican mother Jessica Corry, my parents, and so many others from all walks of life.