Addiction as a Public Health Rather Than Criminal Justice Issue

"The Panel anxiously awaits the time when the disease of addiction is no longer treated as a criminal justice issue, but as a public health problem. Moreover, the Panel embraces the notion of a society that enables any individual with a substance abuse problem, regardless of criminal history, to receive treatment in a safe and respectful environment. The Panel hopes to create a climate in which people who are at risk for, suffering from, or in recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction are valued and treated with dignity."


US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Changing the Conversation: Improving Substance Abuse Treatment, The National Treatment Plan Initiative; Panel Reports, Public Hearings, and Participant Acknowledgements," (Washington, DC: SAMHSA, November 2000), p. 41.