Trey Anastasio was on Capitol Hill this week lobbying for Drug Court funding. He told his own story, recalling how he had hit rock-bottom and, "that the police officer who stopped me at 3 am that morning really saved my life." Because of that officer, Anastasio spent 14 months in the Drug Court system, and has nothing but good things to say about the effectiveness of the programming.
According to the Huffington Post, 75% of Drug Court graduates stay out of jail for at least two years after their release. This is in contrast to the prison system where 60%-80% of convicts commit a new crime, often drug related, upon release. Anastasio said that, from his weekend stay behind bars, "...there was rampant drug use," and most of the people there blamed the system for their faults instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.
President Obama seems to be getting behind this trend of treating drug addiction as an illness instead of a crime. The 2009 budget tripled drug court funding to $64 million with proposals even higher for 2010. As reforms are made in the American healthcare structure, this will be a topic included in Congressional discussions, from both Democrats and Republicans alike.