The 2011 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report has recently been released and the statistics show that 64 percent of men who are arrested in Atlanta have tested positive for at least one drug. It is often common practice for police to test the men they arrest for drugs and alcohol, but this report only included the following drugs: amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, Darvon, marijuana, methadone, methamphetamine, opiates and PCP.
What these statistics indicate is that the criminal system is doing little to stop drug use among Atlanta men. Instead of putting someone in front of a judge and sending him or her to prison for marijuana possession, using a drug court or an alternative sentencing system does more to break the cycle of drug use. Both President Obama and the director of the national drug control policy believe that merely putting someone in prison on a drug charge will do little to prevent him or her from getting in trouble again.
In fact, the director has said, "We cannot simply arrest our way out of the drug problem."
The push for treatment through drug courts and alternative sentencing coincides with other research that indicates that drug use can change a person's brain, making it difficult or impossible to restrain oneself from using. Locking someone up does nothing to teach drug users how to control their urges and stop future drug use, it merely cuts them off from their supply of narcotics. Many will go back to using drugs after release.
Instead, approximately 70 percent of people who have gone through drug court will never have a run in with police again.
Getting into a drug court and treatment program often requires the skill of an experienced drug charges attorney. Without a strong advocate, many people arrested in Atlanta on drug possession charges will find themselves locked up without treatment.
Source: MSNBC, "Report: Marijuana use grows, cocaine falls among men arrested in 10 US cities," Jim Gold, May 17, 2012