Commenter Kaptinemo has been saying for some time that states will wake up to drug policy reform through economic realities. Here’s another editorial that reflects that growing awareness.
If thereâ€™s a bright side to a financial emergency, itâ€™s the opportunity it presents to stop spending money on things that arenâ€™t working.
Consider substance abuse. Researchers and therapists understand that addiction is an illness, but because of its association with property crime, the political systemâ€™s primary response has been through police and prisons.
Massachusetts, like most states, escalated this battle in recent decades. Its prison population grew 368 percent from 1980 to 2008, according to the Massachusetts Bar Associationâ€™s Drug Policy Task Force, while the population of county jails jumped by 522 percent.
That comes at a price: Massachusetts last year spent $1.4 billion incarcerating people. Thatâ€™s more than the Legislature spent on public higher education.
Are we getting our moneyâ€™s worth? In a word, no.