Questions, Answers & Comments About the Recommendations

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Q. What is the present availability of drug treatment in Oakland?
A. For a person in the Proposition 36 diversion program to get into treatment, it could take as little as one month and as much as six months There just aren’t enough treatment slots. An addict could die many times over while waiting to get in. Conquering addiction is hard. Success is most likely when motivation is strongest. Having to wait for treatment works against success in treatment. An Alameda County superior court judge estimated recently that the diversion program results in successful treatment in only about 15% of cases. The long wait is certainly a causal factor.
An addict NOT in custody of the criminal justice system is still worse off. Such a person cannot present for treatment without confessing to the crime of being addicted! Victims of no other disease are criminals merely for being sick. For no other disease does our society so effectively bar access to treatment.
The “drug control” law that is so flagrantly injurious to addicts is also flagrantly beneficial to the crime bosses. The law guarantees that the crime boss will only rarely lose an addict, one of his most profitable drug customers. The law all but guarantees that the indigent addict, so long as he lives, will be forced to earn the price of a fix in service to the crime boss, selling drugs, seducing new drug users, in thievery, or in prostitution.