In order to solve a problem, the cause must be understood. This is why drug treatment is the right and only approach to to the drug problem in the U.S. There are many factors that lead to an addiction, whether they are socioeconomic and environmental situations, an act of rebellion, or used as an escape, millions of people turn to drugs.
The current system for addressing drug use is a combination of police enforcement, prosecutorial laws, treatment and education. Stricter laws and increased police enforcement have been attempted, and have failed. Focusing all of our efforts on education would be a worthwhile alternative, but not the optimum. It would take an entire generation to see results.
The American Psychiatric Association has classified an addiction as an illness: it is curable, and we know how to treat it. It is like alcoholism in that the only known way to treat a drug addict is through rehabilitation and surrounding the person with support systems. A mentally ill person is not thrown into jail, but is treated for his or her illness, as it should be with a drug addict.
The positive aspects of this approach are numerous. Most drug addicts are or start when they are teenagers. With rehabilitation, one mistake commonly made by young people can be fixed, without it becoming a long-term problem. It also has a domino effect: if one kid goes, his or her peers stop taking or dealing drugs for fear of being sent to rehabilitation. More teenagers would stay in school and possibly continue with college.
More treatment centers are a necessity. There would be more jobs to fill with the opening or expansion of these new treatment centers. With an increase in educational achievement and people in the workforce, there would be an overall decrease in the amount of drugs in the country. People won't feel the need to deal drugs to make money, or to do them at all. The demand will go down, and eventually so will the supply.
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