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Despite the short comings of some drug treatment programs, treatment in is a better policy decision than incarceration.

A treatment based policy falls under the term "harm reduction". Where we reduce the harm a drug user has on himself and society. What makes harm reduction an attractive proposal? One benefit is a "low threshold to access to services" as opposed to high threshold access of services that demand reduction has(1 ).

Treatment must be holistic in nature to be the most successful "Successful intervention in this respect, for example, counseling with this regard to martial problems and assistance in trying to find a job." (2 ). Reviewers found that "Empirical questioning will encourage a multi disciplinary perspective, because addictions cannot be understood by any single approach."(3 ).

In Alaska, what drugs do Alaskans seek treatment for, a note the following number may also reflect court referral.
12.6% of adult Alaskans need treatment for alcohol
1.2% of adult Alaskans need treatment for drugs and alcohol
0.5% need treatment of drugs only
29.9% of women with dependent children require alcohol treatment(4 ).

Over all what drugs did these clients say they need treatment for
78.8% Alcohol
9.0 Marijuana/hashish
8.2 Cocaine/crack
1.3 Heroin
2.7 Other(5 )

With shrinking state and federal monies does treatment make sense?

Since 1990 the Alaska has spent an average 25 million annually, and 370 million from 1980 to 1998 for treatment and prevention programs for drug and alcohol abuse(6 ).

A study show for every dollar spent on treatment programs $11.54 in social cost are saved, and a more current study showed for every dollar spent on treatment spent on treatment programs $5.60 was avoided being spent by the tax payer, this study also showed of people who successfully completed out patient treatment were arrested at a 45% lower than those who did not complete treatment. People who Successfully completed treatment were incarcerated at a rate 70% lower that those who did not, and a decrease in child welfare cases(8 ).

Treatment VS incarceration cost
$1,800 Regular outpatient
$2,500 Insensitive outpatient
$3,900 Methadone maintenance
$4,400 short term residential
$6,800 long term residential
$25,900 incarceration(9 )

Despite of evidence only 20 percent of people incarcerated in federal prisons who need drug treatment, get effective drug treatment. Psychiatrist and NIDA director Nora Volkow, said "For every dollar that you spend on treatment of substance abuse in the criminal justice system, it saves society on average four dollars,". Research also shows, that addicted prisoners who received no treatment were seven times more likely to land back in prison (10).

An example of a decrease is people who received treatment showed a 78% decline in selling drugs, shoplifting decreased by 82% and the people who supported themselves by illegal activity dropped by 48% (11 ).

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