Thursday, November 8, 2007

Junk the Junk

[Drug Reform] This week's cover feature follows the leap many Utahns have been taking from prescription pain pills to heroin. For those of us who have seen how this deadly trap can consume and eradicate the lives of those close to us, this is an issue that strikes a sore nerve. I can attest to this personally and for anyone else who has had family struggle with this same nightmare, its important to stay current on what your community and government is doing about these problems.

It is worth pointing out some recent success Utah lawmakers are having with the Drug Offender Reform Act, a program still in its pilot stage that would link drug offenders with existing community rehabilitation resources in a way that would allow offenders to be put more efficiently through treatment, as opposed to being shuffled in and out of jail where there is a tragic dearth of treatment options. The legislation would hopefully also clear alot of space in our overcrowded corrections facilities.

This rather progressive bit of legislation actually was sponsored by Sen. Chris Buttars R-West Jordan. While Buttars has been at the receiving end of some of the Weekly's criticism for many of his positions, the pragmatism he has displayed on this front is admirable. "Al ot of people say we should get tough on crime," says Buttars "I think we need to get smart on crime first."

While it is early in the programs test phase if you are interested in seeing the progress of the Drug Offender Reform Act to see whether or not its something you believe is worth nagging your rep to support, check out the 2005 report to the legislature here or the DORA fact sheet here. (Eric S. Peterson)

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