While billions of dollars have been spent on our country’s war on drugs, the number of those incarcerated for drug related charges continues to rise in both state and federal prisons. Maybe that’s because incarcerating someone for petty possession or use of drugs does very little to stop the drug problem in our country. Whether a person wants to continue using drugs after they leave prison or jail isn’t always a matter of choice. An addiction is a near impossible habit to break without the proper treatment at a drug rehab center. The chances of someone using again, or committing another drug related crime in violation of their probation is very high, because they’ve only been punished for their drug use, but not helped.
Drug treatment can effectively cut incarceration costs, because getting clean lowers the chance of a repeat drug offense tremendously. It can also put a huge dent in the demand for drugs and as a result, limiting the need for a supply. Considering that our attempts to eliminate illicit drugs have failed in the past 40 years, a new strategy may be needed to gain some ground in this seemingly never ending war on drugs.