Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has some concerns about our criminal justice system and its relationship to drug addiction.
A hardline on criminal justice reform
Though she hasn’t formerly laid out a plan for it, at last month’s GOP Debate hosted by CNN, Carly Fiorina did not mince words when talking about the current condition of the United States’ criminal justice system.
“We do need criminal justice reform. We have the highest incarceration rates in the world,” said Fiorina. “Two-thirds of the people in our prisons are there for non-violent offenses – mostly drug related. It’s clearly not working.”
Fiorina went on to share that she and her husband had personally felt the devastating effects of addiction.
“Drug addiction is an epidemic and it is taking too many of our young people,” she lamented. “I know this, sadly, from personal experience.”
“From personal experience”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Carly Fiorina described her stepdaughter Lori Ann as most people would describe their children, saying she was “smart, talented, hardworking, outgoing, kind and compassionate.” But despite all that potential, Lori Ann lived a life strife with addiction.
In college, Lori Ann drank heavily. She also battled bulimia. After college, she began working in pharmaceutical sales, and it was then that things spiraled downward. In addition to her eating disorder and alcoholism, Lori Ann began abusing prescription drugs. In 2009, Lori Ann Fiorina died from her addictions at the age of 34.
Drug addiction and criminalization
During a conference call earlier this year, Fiorina explained that the current approach to addiction – that is, punitive methods that often involve incarceration – is not the best way to treat it.
“Drug addiction shouldn’t be criminalized,” she told reporters. “We need to treat it appropriately.”
Party lines and politics aside, Carly Fiorina isn’t the first – and hopefully won’t be the last – to suggest that addiction in America should be treated more like the medical condition it is, as opposed to a crime. Addiction treatment can work, but there has to be an opportunity for it.
If you’re struggling with your own addiction, we can help. We can also help you find the care you need for a loved one. Don’t wait another day. We’re here 24/7. Give us a call: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: 2016 presidency, drug laws, Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008