For the last several months my family and I have been treated to the almost daily vision of people in various states of undress and levels of intoxication soiling themselves and their immediate environment as people pass them by – mostly without a second look.
You have featured other letters regarding this issue in the past but rather than invoke the usual, vainly satisfying appeal to our humanity I would rather ask if we are ready to actually take steps to solve the problem. I ask this because no one seems willing or capable to taking the steps needed to stop the endless drain of resources and cyclic proliferation of misery caused by the root problem of this issue: drug addiction.
That’s calling a spade a spade and I don’t know if this bastion of liberalism is ready for that but I have been raised to believe that you must take action to prevent something bad from happening and something bad is definitely happening and increasingly so in our neighborhoods.
Instead of repeating the “Homelessness is not a crime” Mantra I would call for the steady but fair intervention of police, courts, and cities looking to curtail this endless cycle of addiction, crime, homelessness and more crime as our resident addicts scramble for their next shot of meth or heroin. This will take a concerted effort at all stages of our system but should deliver results, I believe, as other states have tried it with success. It calls for the tough but far application of street policing our officers are well prepared to implement but which they cannot for fear of repercussion from well meaning but clueless politicians.
I would ask for actual sentences for those convicted of drug related crimes with diversion programs along the lines of those used some Eastern states to offer a different course of behavior to the addicted, rewarding them for staying clean and making it much easier for them to access the drugs (naloxone, methadone, etc.) to help ease and eventually phase out their dependency on heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Completion of programs aimed at getting people off these drugs would be rewarded by family visitation, job training, and counseling needed to ensure the cycle is not repeated.
The efficacy rate for similar programs currently in use by other states has been in the area of 95 percent, with people leaving the streets and staying off the drugs that got them there in the first place.
Right now, in my opinion, we are condemning users to the treadmill of addiction and crime and that is a crime in itself.
Mark Hansen/Walnut Creek