With opioid overdose deaths hitting record highs throughout the US, and the White House Commission calling for declaring a state of emergency, many are looking for new solutions to addiction and overdose.
But one proposal popular in some circles — the expanded use of drug courts — is not the perfect solution some make it out to be.
Drug courts are an old idea.
Created in the 80s to expedite the overwhelmed court dockets created by the drug war, they have already enjoyed a great deal of fanfare and funding — from both sides of the political aisle. But despite the good intentions that often underpin them, they are a flawed solution.
These courts are squarely housed in the criminal justice system, where there is little medical expertise or care available but where punitive sanctions are plentiful.