A recent article in the Star-Ledger hits the nail firmly on the head when it comes to the issue of drug addiction: The “War on Drugs” has been an abject failure, and nothing short of a comprehensive, multi-agency response that focuses more resources on addiction treatment will make a dent in the scourge of drug abuse. This article rightly applauds Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato who is searching for an effective course of action that takes all factors into consideration.
The disease of addiction knows no boundaries. It is equally as prevalent in affluent areas as it is in the inner cities. It transcends all ages, racial barriers and occupations – there are doctors, farmers, soldiers, students, and retired citizens who struggle with drug dependence on a daily basis. They are proof that addiction doesn’t discriminate. But long-term, addiction treatment works. Studies have shown conclusively that every dollar spent on treatment programs saves seven dollars in criminal justice costs.
Coronato sees the death and despair that cheap heroin and unabated demand have brought to his county. With his leadership and the support of our Governor, perhaps we can finally change the failed paradigm and move to a comprehensive system that gives hope to addicts, their families and society as a whole.
Robert J. Budsock
CEO, Integrity House