Addicts deserve compassion, not incarceration

In another article about mental illness, I wrote about addiction and mass incarceration- an epidemic that is rapidly growing in the United States. Many portray those who suffer from addiction in a negative light, as low-lifes, and as failures. But like any other mental illness, addicts deserve our help and understanding.

“The millions of people we mindlessly incarcerate for drug use are not taken to rehabilitation centers where they can appropriately recover; they are taken to jail, where the root of their addictions are overlooked and the conditions in which they are surrounded provide a heartless and intolerant environment that only fosters more pain.

The bottom line is that as long as drugs exist, people will use them. Unfortunately, deaths from overdose are not enough to stop people from using. Like any other mental illness or disease, drug addictions are beyond one’s control. According to the government-run website for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction, including the effects of environment on gene expression and function.””

Read the full article here

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