If someone admits to committing a murder last year, or even 30 years ago, we don’t just get them “treatment”…the government indicts them and tries to imprison them. That makes complete sense, of course, because not only is there no statute of limitations for murder, there’s no excuse for it either. (My hypothetical here assumes murder, not a lesser included like manslaughter, and assumes the absence of self defense, etc.)

I’ve always found it odd then, that we have a dual system of imprisoning some drug users, while seeking treatment for others. Doesn’t the government frequently argue (in court) that the behavior of using the illegal drugs is worth punishing?

Which brings me to today’s quote from the Drug Czar’s blog. It comes from ONDCP’s Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, Dr. Bertha Madras, who was asked:

Why can’t drug addicts just go straight to a local treatment center for help?

Dr. Madras: Only a small minority of addicts willingly seek treatment on their own.  The vast majority do not seek treatment because they don’t think they have a problem.  They are unaware, in denial or ambivalent about seeking help. 

She’s talking about this in the context of the procedures by which doctors can now bill Medicaid for drug and alcohol screening and intervention, even if that was not why the patient came to see them. But isn’t her statement at least implicitly a rejection of the notion that drug users should be jailed in the first place?

I guess it’s OK to use marijuana, cocaine or what have you, as long as you run into a doctor before you run into a cop…

  • scott gordon

    was told by vaLB opthalmalogist in 1975 to smoke pot to lower intraocular pressure. been smoking like a chimney since. never had a retinal detatchment for condition of lattice degeneration of retina.
    my iop is 11 – b oth eyes – i have arrested the myopic advance – same lens prescrition – minus 13 diopters – in 17 years. but i currently have my drivers license revoked for dui marijuana-

    i have excellent memory- great cognitive abilities- make millions in a one man band buisness i pionerred = paid all may tax-
    they should have kissed me- instead- now at 67 – i find governance out of whack at all levels – a covert plutocracy/tyranny has emerged.
    truth and freedom have nothing to do with it.
    i got 2 of reno’s finest attorneys- but need all the help i can get fighting off this wicked mess.
    too many conflicted interests – lieing, denying, corrupting my files – they like a stacked deck- a rigged game. the law is broken- it does not work- or even make sense- no one can comply who has medicinal need – the permit process here is nevada is useless- dmv and homeland security are at the ready –
    but dept of health- just sucking up salary- have no idea what they are doing.
    i am living proof that all the nonsense the government spreads- is just that. would love to shasre ideas- and find some expert witnesses – these local attorneys are good- but not up to this defense- i have a blindness causing disease- broutght on by the army- who stonewalled= corrupted the files- va lb told me what to do to do SOMETHING conswtructive to try to limit risk of impending blindness- and this has been known since 1971 – but no one in our without the profession of eye health- want to talk about it – they all want to comply and stop short of recommending.- the anslinger mentallity persists.
    if my driving were impaired by hi levels of thc- i would have done something about it decades ago.
    the real issue is- 80% of government agents are paid to interdict it. it’s a good bust.
    it’s what’s wrong with the country.
    let me hear from you, please.
    bst rgds,
    scott gordon