Feds offers public health answers to crime

July 26, 2006 at 8:01 PM

WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- The National Institute on Drug Abuse has issued a report suggesting effective treatment of drug abuse and addiction can reduce crime and save taxpayers money.

The report -- Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations -- cited federal research indicating that the cost to society of drug abuse during 2002 was $181 billion -- $107 billion associated with drug-related crime.

"We know what works to treat addiction, based on our scientific knowledge of the cognitive, behavioral, and physiological characteristics of addicts," said Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA director. "The principles of drug abuse treatment that we are releasing (Wednesday) represent the translation of research into practice."

The report offers 13 recommendations -- including an acknowledgement that drug addiction is a brain disease affecting behavior; that recovery requires effective individualized treatment that might include medication; and that continuity of care is essential for drug abusers re-entering the community after a period of incarceration.

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