Drug Rehabilitation Advocates Meet State Officials
LAFAYETTE, La. — Looking ahead at the next legislative session, Louisiana officials joined the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy in Lafayette on Wednesday to hold a forum on criminal justice reform.
Louisiana’s state drug laws are some of the toughest in the country. The majority of inmates incarcerated in Louisiana are there for non-violent drug-related offenses. Many civil rights advocates question whether incarceration is actually a deterrent to drug use. They cite a lack of inmate rehabilitation as one of the problems with the current system.
Drug Problems In Louisiana
Louisiana has the reputation of being one of the most prolific drug distribution and trafficking states along the Gulf Coast. There are certain geographic features that lend themselves to trafficking drugs:
- 397 miles of coastline that is completely oriented to maritime smuggling
- 6,000 miles of completely navigable waterways
- Nearly 7,800 miles of broken coastline
- The I-10 and I-20 corridors transverse the state from east to west while I-49 runs north and south
- The Mississippi River waterway is the main north-south distribution and trafficking corridor through the state
The relative ease with which drug smuggling can take place has resulted in stiff penalties for drug possession and trafficking. However, some say the laws target low-level users and offenders who could be rehabilitated, along with those who maliciously entrap Louisianans in addiction. This has many in the state questioning if Louisiana law needs to be changed to focus on drug trafficking instead of drug users.
“Louisiana, in addition to having the highest number of nonviolent offenders serving life without parole, actually has the highest incarceration rate in the world,” said ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman “We lock up more of own people here in Louisiana than any other place in the world.”
As always, a vital part of the solution is having enough drug rehab centers available to help those who, if not addicted, would be no threat to anyone. Fifty years of experience at Narconon centers around the world has proven that many addicted people are happy to return to lawful, productive lives if they can just get the rehabilitation they need. Call us if someone you care about needs this kind of help.