It’s time to make peace with the longest-running war in our society today. How can our society be aware of such a problem, have access to resources, yet still implement punishment over treatment? When comparing treatment versus punishment it is evident that treatment saves money and lives while punishment most often creates a cycle of repeated abuse and

Substance abuse is not a war to be won. It’s a reality that it’s time we face.

The war on drugs has been going on for 105 years, in that time we have seen drug availability, drug use, overdose rates, incarceration for drug crimes, and costs to American taxpayers increase, so what exactly have we done in this war but be defeated time and time again? The costs to provide treatment over punishment is significantly less and has a much greater effect in reducing an individual’s chance of re-entering the criminal justice system and overcoming substance abuse.

There is currently a bill in the Legislature, LD 1492, that has been implemented to reform drug sentencing laws. This bill would reduce sentencing laws for individuals convicted with drug offenses and ultimately reduce the cost to taxpayers. The current sentencing for drug offenses often does not fit the crime and only creates a path to future incarceration. It’s time to ask ourselves what can we as a society do differently to fight this war, and realize that incarceration has done nothing.

Kayla Bailey, New Gloucester

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