The Wrong Approach to Opioid Addiction

  treatment, not lock-up

The Arizona Legislature is considering HB 2241, which would throw people with opioid addiction behind bars for long, mandatory minimum sentences instead of offering them the treatment and rehabilitation they need. Arizona already spends $1 billion a year to keep people in prison. Adding to the prison population through the use of an outdated approach to drug abuse is not the right investment for Arizona’s future.

HB 2241 is a reckless effort by elected prosecutors including Bill Montgomery, Sheila Polk, and Barbara LaWall that will undermine the effectiveness of the bipartisan public health law recently approved by the Legislature unanimously and signed by Gov. Ducey. These prosecutors and the legislators who support this proposal are not helping solve the opioid crisis, they’re just going to end up forcing more people with drug addiction into prison for years without treatment.

Throwing people with opioid addiction in prison will not solve Arizona’s drug problem. We need to spend our scarce resources on treatment and prevention, not locking people who have addiction issues behind bars. HB 2241 must not become law.

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