New Polling Shows Broad Support for Expanding Addiction Treatment and Report Offers Policymakers a Roadmap for a More Effective National Drug and Alcohol Policy

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Legal Action Center’s Arthur Liman Policy Institute Issues Comprehensive Recommendations to Improve Health and Public safety, Save Lives and Resources

January 26, 2016 – A survey commissioned by Legal Action Center (LAC) and released today finds strong support among Americans for expanding addiction treatment and making it a policy priority of the next president. Highlights of the survey include:

  • A majority of Americans (57 percent) supports a presidential candidate who says additional investment is needed for more education, prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol addiction;
  • A majority of Americans (63 percent) also believes “we put too many non-violent drug offenders in prison instead of treating their addiction;” and
  • Most Americans (78 percent) believe “we need to treat drug and alcohol addiction more as a health problem and less as a criminal problem.

The survey was released in conjunction with a new report from Legal Action Center’s Arthur Liman Policy Institute; The Roadmap for Promoting Health and Justice: A Smarter, More Effective National Drug and Alcohol Policy is a guide for policymakers who understand the urgent need to reshape the nation’s drug and alcohol policies, in order to address addiction as a chronic disease that can be treated and prevented.

Developed by Legal Action Center, the only nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting for the civil rights of people with drug and alcohol histories, criminal records, and HIV/AIDS, the Roadmap provides a comprehensive and detailed set of recommendations for improving our national drug and alcohol policies to improve health and public safety and save lives and resources.

“An unusual bipartisan consensus is emerging – among Presidential candidates as well as federal, state and local policy makers from coast to coast – to promote serious reform of America’s drug policies and criminal justice system,” said Paul Samuels, LAC’s President and Director.

“Policymakers and ordinary Americans recognize that prevention and treatment for drug and alcohol addiction works to decrease crime, improve family and community situations, lower health care costs and save lives,” said Samuels. “As we enter a presidential election year, our nation has an unprecedented opportunity to consider transforming its approach to people addicted to drugs and alcohol, shifting its primary focus from a criminal justice focus on punishment to a public health focus on prevention, treatment and recovery.”

The Roadmap is available at www.lac.org/roadmap. The nationwide online survey was conducted by PrimeGroup November 2-11, 2015 with a sample size of 1,066.

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