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Letter: Treatment vs. incarceration

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

Recently on a widely watched episode of “60 Minutes” (Dec. 13, 2015), our nation’s top drug official Michael Botticelli announced a much-needed “new direction” on drugs. He stated “the war on drugs is all wrong” and that he wants to change our country’s drug policies. Statistically speaking, he said, “our nation’s 40-year war on drugs is a failure.”

On the one hand, we are faced with 23 million addicts. On the other, there are more people locked up today for drug offenses alone than the entire prison system held in 1970.

Federal prisons are currently housing over half of their inmates for drug offenses, with less than 10 percent having committed a violent crime. Mr. Botticelli also stated “addicts need to be patients, not prisoners,” a very realistic outlook we are not properly handling currently.

Today’s medical evidence shows that addiction is a medical (physiological) iss...

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