Jon Schuppe

Sending more people to prison for drug offenses won’t have an effect on drug use and deaths, according to a new analysis released this week.

Researchers from the Pew Charitable Trusts crunched state-by-state data on drug imprisonment, drug use, overdoses and drug arrests and found no evidence that they affected one another.

“Imprisonment really cramps my style”.  Is what one former con told me in the exam room one day, but that “you can still get what you want on the inside–it’s just more difficult”.

This makes perfect sense if we’re dealing with a disease!

Imagine giving inmates access to buprenorphine, education, meetings and a butt-ful of a heroin-blocking antibody on their way out the door when they’re released!  I’d love to see a study on that!  Until we make BUP easily available to all, we shouldn’t be throwing the book at non-violent offenders, establish a work program for them and have them work on public projects while being educated and maintained on appropriate meds with complementary forms of treatment to help treat their addiction.  Give them life-skills and let them go back to their communities on stable meds with a new skill.

Dr. Raymond Oenbrink
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