So, I’m a little late to this particular party, but I was on vacation – in Maryland.
No, I’m not going to say that part of my trip involved checking out the dark side of the state. I will say that certain people picking on Governor Larry Hogan’s attempts to combat the heroin problem they have need to sit down and shut up. Hogan is pushing for more drug addiction treatment, and less incarceration – yes, that is a smart move.
Right now, too many people end up in the prison system over drug charges – including heroin use – and once they get out, they end up back in again. Sure, this might be an acceptable situation to some people, but we do need to remember that an increasing number of heroin addicts are getting their start with legal prescription drugs. You know, the opiates that the VA has been slammed for over-prescribing to veterans with PTSD, among others. It’s happening in the civilian population, too.
As for who was picking on Gov. Hogan, there was Jason Mattera:
Seriously, I wish I was making this stuff up, but I’m not.
Is it possible that some heroin dealers could end up in this treatment instead of incarceration program? Yes, they could. However, the dealers would have to be addicted to the drug, too. In case you were missing anything, the vast majority of the high level drug dealers out there are not addicted to the product they push. It’s poison, they know it, and they don’t want to end up strung out like their clients. So, the dealers that would be let loose on the masses are just people who are addicted to heroin, and are probably selling on a low level to keep up with their habits.
Justice reform is about getting people who made a bad decision or two out of the cycle of criminal behaviors, not giving passes to hardened criminals. Gov. Hogan is making a good choice by pushing for investment in drug treatment centers instead of jails. The problem is addiction, not criminality. Like every other part of the misguided war on drugs, it’s a money mill for law enforcement and prisons. If we had invested in addiction treatment instead of prisons years ago, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.