The fight against drugs in Washington mirrors that of every other state. This is a losing battle on many fronts. Prisons are filled with people in on drug charges. The morgues are lined with those who have overdosed. Despite these things, the problem does not seem to be getting better. This has led some leaders in the state to try a different approach to treating those facing drug charges. In Seattle, the legal system has actually stopped charging people for having small amounts of drugs, according to the New York Times.
Instead of charging people with a crime for possession, the idea is to help them get past their addiction. The program helps these people find social services to help them better their lives and get off drugs. This is instead of the usual process of putting them in jail or prison with a criminal charge.
The idea of providing help instead of automatically making someone a criminal is one that Tacoma may wish to emulate. It seems to be working thus far for the capital city. Arrests are down and people are getting help to stop using drugs. They are able to put their lives back on track and become productive members of society. This is all due to this approach of helping and not punishing.
Many cities across the country use different types of diversion programs when it comes to drug users. It often proves to be much better at really stopping drug use and preventing overdose deaths. It also helps cut down on the population in jails and prisons. This information is for education and is not legal advice.