Friday, June 25, 2010

ONDCP (office of national drug control) DIRECTOR: Over Half of Drug Treatment Program Patients "Are There Because of a Law Enforcement Intervention."

(Statement of Office of the Director, ONDCP (office of national drug control policy), May 18, 2010) What a sad reflection on our country's policies, priorities and practices! In NYC at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic a few years ago, roughly 3% of all patients were under legal mandate to receive directly observed treatment (source: email correspondence with NYC Health Dept Bureau of Tuberculosis).

What's being done to attract voluntary admission of those who need care? When's the last time there was a government public service message (federal, state or city) advising drug dependent individuals that treatment was available promptly, and urging them to apply? And the illogic of CJS-mandated care: judges and prosecutors determine that a defendant has a medical problem needing treatment - and generally dictate what that treatment shall (and shall not!!) be. And when the treatment is less than optimally effective - i.e., when the defendant-patient shows continuing evidence of the condition being treated (drug dependence!) - that defendant-patient faces jail, while the treatment providers merely fill the newly vacated "slot" with another court referred individual.

What a system!


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