I spoke with Rep. Dick Patten recently about the need to reduce property taxes and address the drug crisis using proven Harm Reduction strategies. Nearly every western European country has moved resources from prisons into treatment, prevention, and recovery support, including employment support and even Swiss style diamorphine clinics.
Offer treatment and recovery support instead of prison. I was the prime sponsor of Jessie's Law which would have allowed ten different solutions for ten different counties, enabling each county delegation to implement best practices differently and use outside the box thinking on prevention and recovery support options. A Gloucester-style ANGEL program, employment support, needle exchange programs, and even diamorphine have all proven effective at reducing drug use. Rep. Groen even runs a faith based counseling program that has a 64% success rate. After a successful pilot project of offer diamorphine as an alternative to methadone, 68% of Swiss voters voted to continue the program. It has drastically reduced crime, drug use, overdose deaths, and even saved taxpayers millions. The biggest benefit to Jessie's Law would have been that each county delegation could learn from the successes and failures of other counties.