Actor Martin Sheen to Congress: Drug Courts Effective
Celebrities who take up the torch to spread the word about substance abuse and recovery deserve a special place in heaven. Award-winning actor Martin Sheen, a former mayor of Malibu, is one such celebrity. Many years ago I quoted him in an article when he noted how ubiquitous alcohol use is. He once said something like: You can’t swing a cat and find someone who hasn’t been touched by addiction.
In July, according to the L.A. Times, Sheen spoke to a Senate subcommittee in support of drug courts, which offer abusers a better chance at recovery than they could find in jail.
As the Times reported:
A drug court is a special docket that addresses the cases of nonviolent drug offenders. Members participate in substance abuse treatment programs – usually for at least one year – and are subject to random drug testing. There are currently more than 2,500 drug courts across the country, treating more than 120,000 Americans.
Drug courts, according to article after article, work. That doesn’t mean they’re a cure-all, and that anyone who is able to avoid prison this way doesn’t relapse. We’d like to think jail makes people wise up, mend their ways, or turn their lives around, to mention some of the euphemisms. But that’s not always the case.
Still they’re a positive, supportive move to help people recover and avoid incarceration. According to the L.A. Times article: “Drug court participants reported 25% less criminal activity and had 16% fewer arrests than comparable offenders not enrolled in drug courts, according to a Justice Department study.”
You may have heard Sheen speak about addiction in past years – he is open about being a member of a 12-step program himself for several decades. On the heels of golfer Robert Garrigus and actor Daniel Radcliffe speaking out, which I blogged about recently, it’s heartening to add the news about Sheen.