Drug Related Crime in Southern California

We keep an eye on periodicals to see what’s going on in the world of drug use and abuse around California. There were a couple of interesting articles in the last couple of days.

Per the L.A. Times, Skid Row is getting a new drug enforcement policy to crack down on “commuter” drug dealers in the tragic downtown area called skid row.

Skid row has been known to be the “last stop” for many hopeless drug addicts and alcoholics where they can congregate relatively unhindered and live on the streets abusing drugs and alcohol day in and day out.

The recent injunction would ban 80 known drug dealers who “service” the area and expand the list of drug dealers by 300 or more.

A Controversial Move?

To most, this move would seem to be a “no brainer” at face value  – how can you argue against the banning of drug dealers from an area that is a magnet for addicts?

As is so often the case when it comes to enforcing drug laws, the matter is complicated and there is no clear obvious answer for law enforcement in the handling of an area like skid row.  There is even the question about whether the goal should be “to enforce the law and punish drug criminals (users and dealers)” or “to rehabilitate those who suffer from drug addiction” in the area.

Our treatment center knows that we have pulled more than a few men and women off of the streets of skid row to try and get them back on the road to recovery when their families come to us for help.  We even know the experience of trying to locate a once successfully recovering addict who has fallen tragically into their old habits through a relapse.

The reason that a law like this might exacerbate rather than alleviate the problem lies in the fundamental question of whether the key to reducing crime is rehabilitation or punitive action.  Certainly, individuals who are caught in the web of drug addiction can be targeted and punished via this new injunction. This type of sweeping law would seem to put people who are already in trouble with addiction even further on the wrong side of the law.  There is also question as to whether their rights are being violated as it would make it very easy for law enforcement officials to “blacklist” drug using individuals who are associating with the wrong individuals.

The fundamental question of whether the key to reducing crime is rehabilitation or punitive action. We will keep you posted through our blog on the latest developments with regard to skid row drug enforcement policy.

Catalina Drug Bust

Our blog has frequently documented the global and economic factors that have made Mexico an increasingly violent neighbor that has become the primary gateway for all drugs entering the United States.  Another instance of this occurred a yesterday out on the nearby island of Catalina.

Catalina (which is visible to the naked eye from the treatment residences at Sober Living by the Sea) apparently was a stopping point for a flat bottomed boat that ran aground with a large cache of marijuana on the evening of Sunday, April 18th.  The sheriffs who noticed the odd behavior detained three men but had to wait until this morning to summon a helicopter that could transport the contraband marijuana for weighing on the mainland in California.   We do know at this time that it took more than one trip for the helicopter to transport the marijuana across the channel.

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