Spend a Dollar on Drug Treatment, and Save More on Crime Reduction

 In Health, Legal, Opiates, Regulation

A great article from the New York Times regarding the connection between substance abuse and crime reduction: “Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that prescription opioid abuse, dependence and overdoses cost the public sector $23 billion a year”

For every 100 patients on methadone per year, there were 12 fewer robberies, 57 fewer break-and-enters and 56 fewer auto thefts. Another systematic review found that provision of heroin by doctors to patients addicted to it — permitted in Canada and some other countries — reduces crime.

Findings such as these justify drug courts, which divert drug offenders from the traditional criminal justice system into treatment. But what about helping those with substance use disorders obtain treatment before they commit crimes and land in court? Given the crime-deterring value of treatment (among its other benefits), you’d think we’d make it easy for patients to get.

We don’t. The need for treatment far exceeds its supply. Many treatment programs have waiting lists, and the vast majority of those with substance use or dependency problems go untreated.

Read more at nytimes.com