The nationwide poll conducted by the PEW Research Center suggests nearly two-thirds of Americans support treatment over imprisonment, and those who espouse policy changes are calling for more comprehensive legislation. Currently, there are four path-breaking U.S. policies that may soon change the landscape of our approach towards drug abuse, public safety and imprisonment.
The Decriminalization of Addiction
The best examples of decriminalization of addiction are the changes of state-level marijuana laws that happened recently. However, decriminalization is also taking shape in nationwide policies and practices that call for treatment rather than imprisonment. Many attorneys across the US now openly support the belief that addiction treatment is preferable to lengthy jail sentences.
National Drug Control Strategy
Obama administration’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy marks a break from the traditional drug policy, which is also impacting other state-level policies. Many policy changes introduced by the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy have actually received support from all quarters.
Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015
Approximately, 50 percent of the prisoners living in the U.S. prisons are drug violators; nearly half of them carry the mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years. The Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015 asks for more synoptic sentencing, while cutting down the many federally mandated sentencing by nearly a half, and also for returning discretion back to judges. The U.S. Senate is holding debates over the Smarter Sentencing Act, but the bill does have all-round support.
New State Naloxone Policies
Naloxone is a drug that is easy to administer and reverses side effects from opioid overdose. Many states have started equipping first responders and law enforcement with Naloxone for the treatment of overdose cases. States have begun introducing policies to make Naloxone prescriptions easier to obtain and providing immunity from criminal liability to persons who administer Naloxone to an overdose victim.