The United States has roughly 5% of the world’s population. It has approximately 25% of it’s prison population. Nearly one half the nation’s prisoners are serving time for drug related crimes.
Clearly something’s about incarcerating drug offenders isn’t working.
Thanks to new brain and addiction-related research of the recent 10-15 years, it’s now understood that drug and alcohol abuse chemically and structurally changes the way the brain works. For this reason, and this reason alone, people are incapable of behaving responsibly (normally) when high or drunk. We also understand that addiction (not to be confused with substance abuse) is a chronic, often relapsing – but TREATABLE – brain disease, and that until the disease is treated, an addict (which includes alcoholic) who uses any amount of their substance of choice will trigger their brain disease – even if they’ve been drug free for the 3 years of their prison term.
What does this say?
To help with this discussion, I’d like to share the following Sober Conversation hosted and originally shared by my friend and colleague, Dr. Herby Bell, in his June 25, 2013, blog post: “#8: Addiction Incarceration with Gretchen Bergman.”
In this Sober Conversation, Herby interviews Gretchen Bergman of A New PATH. Gretchen discusses the need for a more awareness about the destructive aspects of addiction incarceration. Bergman is also the lead organizer of Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign. She relays first hand the destructive fallout from drug related incarcerations and largely missing harm reduction programs that can further help save lives. Gretchen has harnessed the power of personal empathy, maternal instinct, public speaking and an impressive business/entrepreneurial skill set to help with this number 1 public health issue: Addiction. Listen in and help Gretchen Bergman spread the word about stopping the war on drugs and addiction incarceration!
Click here to listen to the podcast. (Note: you will need to click on #5 to listen)
Dr. Bell is a chiropractor, Recovery Coach, owner and director of Recovery Health Care, an integrated approach to wellness and addiction treatment in Redwood City, California. For more information please call 650 474 2121 or Email Him. And for more of Dr. Bell’s Sober Conversations, please click here.