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Put Drug Treatment Into National Conversation

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Celebrating Recovery Palooza - 23 million addicts need but do not receive treatment.
Celebrating Recovery Palooza - 23 million addicts need but do not receive treatment.
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Originally published in the Daily Herald

By Robert Weiner and Daniel Sordello

When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was President Clinton's crime adviser, he was so enthusiastic about Four-Star General/Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's proposal to increase drug treatment by a billion dollars that he did his famous stand-on-his-desk in his cubicle in the West Wing. Emanuel exclaimed, "Treatment keeps the crime off the streets!"

Emanuel made the point that treatment isn't just a liberal good-for-people action, but a cost-effective counter to crime.

During the GOP Republican debate on Sept. 16, while butting heads over government drug laws, Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, stated, "I'd like to see more rehabilitation, and less incarceration. I'm a big fan of the drug courts, which try to direct you back toward work and less time in jail."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, after joking that his "mother would not be happy" that he now is admitting to marijuana use "40 years ago," added: "We're the state that has the most drug courts across every circuit. Drug courts give people a second chance."

Carly Fiorina said, "My husband Frank and I buried a child to drug addiction. We must invest more in the treatment of drugs. We have the highest incarceration rates in the world. Two-thirds of the people in our prisons are there for nonviolent offenses, mostly drug related."

From Rand Paul to Hillary Clinton, all sides now have proposals to improve substance abuse treatment. Paul, together with Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, aims to increase the yearly number of patients that providers can help.

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Robert Weiner, NATIONAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND ISSUES STRATEGIST Bob Weiner, a national issues and public affairs strategist, has been spokesman for and directed the public affairs offices of White House Drug Czar and Four Star General Barry (more...)

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