They discuss the case of a woman on probation, who less than a week into court-mandated medical treatment, tested positive for fentanyl. She was jailed for 10 days. The woman's attorney argued that it is nearly impossible to require someone to be cured of addiction within days via incarceration.
Judge Chrzanowski says people who fail a drug test while on probation should be jailed, but acknowledges it depends on the circumstances. "Probation is a privilege," she notes. "There's no constitutional guarantee that you get probation, It is a deterrent... when you violate probation, you're violating a condition of the probation that relates back to the crime you originally committed." She adds, "You're not being punished for being an abuser of drugs or an addict that's something you have no control over, you're being punished because you could not follow the rules that were keeping you out of jail."
Darryl, who was sent to jail multiple times for violating probation, says he feels someone using while on probation needs to be put in jail due to the possibility that they could harm others. "Jail is not a bad thing, it stops the bleeding," he tells The Doctors, acknowledging that jail will not solve the problem of addiction and notes that further treatment, support, and work is required. He adds, "Addicts have to learn how to deal with their pain without using anything and that is a process."
Also joining the conversation is former reality star Alexis Haines, who had a very public battle with heroin, and her former criminal defense attorney Mike Nasatir.
Alexis asks, "Does the criminalization of addiction work? The answer that I see very clearly is, no. Because if the war on drugs and criminalization worked then we wouldn't have nearly 500,000 people in our prison and jail system right now for drug-related charges. I don't think that it is the answer." She credits her success and the saving of her life on an alternative sentencing.
The panel agrees that often times the lack of access to resources for addicts to stay sober can lead to further drug use. Darryl feels there needs to be more government involvement to solve this issue.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.