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Drug Policy

Viewpoints: The future of treatment in drug policy

Katharine Neill Harris

Viewpoints: The future of treatment in drug policy.

Drug policy has experienced an interesting shift recently. Along with legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, many states are also reducing penalties for nonviolent drug offenses and placing greater focus on treatment for drug users. The emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation for drug users is the result of many factors, including recognition that the drug war has not reduced drug use, a desire to reduce the prison population and save money, and a surge in the rate of overdoses from opioid and heroin use. What remains to be seen is whether the current popularity of drug treatment will become a more permanent feature of drug policy. In this Baker Institute Viewpoints series, five experts on drug policy examine the question, “Is the current emphasis on treatment in drug policy a short-term trend or is it here to stay?”

"The future of treatment in drug policy: Stigma remains a serious problem" by Claire D. Clark, Ph.D., M.P.H., postdoctoral fellow at the John P. McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"Drug war fatigue, a sympathetic user population and shifting public attitudes drive current drug treatment trends" by Katharine A. Neill, Ph.D., Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy at the Baker Institute.

"Spending on treatment to save on incarceration" by Hadar Aviram, Ph.D., M.A., professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of Law.

"Increased funding and health care reform are key to drug treatment accessibility" by Scott R. Maggard, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University.

"Increased treatment: Popular, beneficial, limited" by William Martin, Ph.D., Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute and director of the institute’s Drug Policy Program.