Major Shortcomings in Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program Policies: Part 2

The IACP is the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and this group is most active in North America. In 2015, the IACP had a major symposium where efforts to curb drug use were discussed. I want to share some quotes from that symposium that show willingness to improve substance use disorder related priorities on the part of law enforcement. Last week we discussed why many treatment centers have policies that mirror law enforcement policies, and the reason for that seems to be the high rate of police involvement in cases where drugs have been a factor in an arrest. New attitudes for dealing with such circumstances seem to be needed, and the IACP is an organization that is reflective of law enforcement attitudes on this issue. If you or a loved one is looking for more information on the best drug rehabs in Panama City, Florida there is more information available on our programs page.

2015 Law Enforcement Symposium on Addiction

The 2015 symposium on drugs and law enforcement includes this quote,

“We have also come to understand the harmful, unintended collateral consequences of repeated and extended contact with the justice system for those low-risk citizens who, due to their addiction, might be better treated in the community. To address this pervasive and costly situation, our citizens, our communities, and our police need solutions that call upon the resources of both the public safety and the public health systems, as well as reflect the desires and concerns of the local community, solutions that reduce crime, reduce drug use, save dollars.”

Changing Attitudes Around Addiction and Substance Use Disorder

Although reading this portion of the comments seems to show a willingness from law enforcement to better understand interactions with people with substance use disorder, they still repeatedly refer to “reducing drug use.” Reducing drug use is done by medical professionals, counselors and therapists, and people with substance use disorder themselves. There is no evidence that law enforcement has ever had a positive role to play in reducing drug use in communities they serve, but I believe it is possible to imagine a way that law enforcement could play a positive role. I want that to be the case, because it is impossible to envision a scenario where law enforcement is not part of the equation. Too many people with criminal histories already struggle with substance use disorder, and the same IACP symposium addressed the fact that over 50% of all people in prison may have substance use disorder right now. In my opinion, we need the words of the IACP to become substantive action to get more people with substance use disorder into real treatment. In the 2015 symposium they claimed that up to 10% of people in prison get real substance use disorder treatment, and even if that number is correct, we should try to hand all of the future workload related to substance use disorder treatment over to experts.

Law enforcement in the United States is a huge industry, and we should understand that changes in policy in a large organization can take time, but the changing attitudes towards drug use and addiction disease that exist in the community must be reflected in the way we handle law enforcement. Drug courts are a small step in a positive direction, but we would rather have less law enforcement involvement in medical treatment wherever that is possible. People like me will also have to be open to listening to law enforcement voices on these issues, as there is no doubt that police officers face difficult circumstances daily from people who are using drugs at the time that they are in contact with police. We cannot discount what that means to individual officers and their own attitudes towards drug and alcohol use. People like me, who work around people with substance use disorder, simply want more people to have access to great addiction and alcoholism treatment. Florida Springs is a place where people can find the best drug and alcohol rehab in Panama City, Florida. I do understand, however, that although people in law enforcement may want more people to be able to seek treatment, law enforcement attitudes are influenced by a very different set of experiences than my own. The Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery phone number is available on this website, and you can talk directly to an intake specialist or counselor by calling that number today, if you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at


  • 2015 IACP Symposium Notes
  • President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (Washington, D.C.: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 20)