How much of a deterrent is a prison when it comes to drug addiction? The body wants what the body wants when it wants drugs. It doesn't matter what your race is or your income level or position in society. People have thrown their whole lives away thanks to drug addiction.

U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District, introduced a bill, according to Eric Scott's post, "that would shift regulatory authority of illegal drugs from the Justice Department to the Department of Health and Human Services. Instead of punitive measures for drug possession, the legislation would move toward a health-based model with a focus on intervention and treatment."

She goes onto say that "the impact has been disproportionate on African-American, Hispanic and low-income individuals." To which Kevin Meara, founder of City Of Angels, which deals with addiction, and who was in our conference room with Artie Lange for over 2 hours when he decided to enter rehab, replies:

"This conversation must be on the table and while I’m not sure what will finally shake out of the discussion, I do know one thing and that is addiction is not about race! If you make it about race you cloud the conversation."

"Addiction knows no bounds as it impacts white and black people alike, rich and poor, male and female, straight and transgender, the able and disabled.

"Addiction is about stigma though, and giving more emphasis on the health aspect will certainly help to reduce stigma.

"It's also about mental health, probably more so than anything else and so making it more about health will begin to address this too. I think it is well worthwhile to look at other countries such as Portugal and examine where their successes are in legalization and decriminalization.

"One thing is true, and that is many lives have been lost to substance use disorders, and what we are presently doing as a country to address it has not been so effective."

Politicians need to stop working race into everything. As elected officials, their job is to govern everyone in their district. It also divides us at a time when we need more than ever to be united.

I agree with the idea of taking prison out of drug addiction but in order to make it work, you have to ramp up education and rehabilitation. Could it work? Considering where we are now with drug addiction, it couldn't hurt.

I did a Twitter poll on this topic

I also did a Facebook Live on this Wednesday night and here are some of the responses.

Giulio Poli
will power is the only hope for drug or alcohol abuse
As a recovering alcoholic for 16 years now I can tell you NOTHING WORKS until the addict is READY! I knew about the perils of my addiction but my addiction was cunning, baffling and powerful!
Education will not work until the addict is ready my friend

William Weber
yes. First and foremost crime will increase. Giving drug users a free pass means homes and families will be in danger of the addict needing a fix. And while rehab would be a nice choice for addicts, only those who TRULY want help will get clean. Meanwhile the question now becomes who pays for the rehab? And if the rehab does not work what then? No all drugs should not be decriminalized.

Maureen Keelen
I was forced on drug court . Been in it almost 7 years. This is horrible! I’m not a criminal

James Milano
Hell no. There should be stiffer penalties.

Nicole Marie Doherty
Yes, drugs should be decriminalized. Put addicts in rehab, not jail.

Ed Owens
The United States government launders 500 billion to a trillion dollars of drug money a year. The government claims to be fighting a drug war but are they really?

Carmen Cuozzo
Prison isn’t the answer but neither is rehab…very low success rate

Deana Jackson Bennington
If you want to create more junkies, then by all means. This is how the government dumbs down the population

Roger Bacon
Since all crimes are subject to a trial by jury, which is a free and independent body with the power to judge the law as well as the facts, that would be for a jury to decide regardless.

Stephen Smith
Gotta keep the system free for bad people. Drug addiction is different. Looking at some of these comments are nuts.

Gabriel Kelly
Yes let's get the drug dealers off the streets.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

 

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