Controversies

Coerced treatment and the use of court authority within the criminal justice system have not been without controversy, particularly since many community drug treatment providers believe that substance abusers should enter treatment voluntarily. As one early example of this controversy, Robert L. DuPont as Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when addressing the Federal Bar Association in 1977, proposed setting up a trip wire, in the form of urine testing, that would identify heroin users who were on probation and parole. If an addicted probationer or parolee did not stop daily drug use, he or she would be referred for compulsory drug abuse treatment. And if treatment was refused or daily heroin use continued, the individual would be reincarcerated. Although the trip wire proposal was modified by other proponents, it never got underway because of the ensuing controversy. Controversy focused on three areas:

(1) the image problem created when a health agency proposed a mechanism for behavioral control using the criminal justice system,

(2) the violation of probationers' civil rights when tested, and

(3) the inadequacy of the urine testing technology.

In spite of the controversy, practitioners interested in the relationship between drugs and crime supported the concept because of the large number of crimes committed by substance abusers (Leukefeld, 1985).

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