To The Daily Sun,
With all the debate and argument about what to do about the substance abuse problem in New Hampshire, I am always happy when The Sun reports "good news" about those people who are actually doing something about the problem.
There have been some articles — including a recent one — regarding District Judge Jim Carroll's "Recovery Court" (I understand Judge Carroll prefers the term "recovery court" to "drug court").
I certainly want to congratulate the recent (and past) graduates of this wonderful program. They have trod a difficult path and have regained their lives through what I know is a difficult and demanding program. But, we should also thank the people who make it possible for those suffering from addiction to have a second chance.
Judge Carroll has served the Laconia community well, as a lawyer, a prosecutor, and now as a judge. He has also served as a teacher and he is a welcomed keynote speaker at the annual Constitution Day celebration held each September at Lakes Region Community College. He insists that young people understand their rights as American citizens.
Judge Carroll is that rare person on the bench who seems to be able to achieve a near-perfect balance of fairness and firmness. He tries to balance justice with compassion. He is willing to give those who have committed drug- or alcohol-related offenses a second chance, but he also demands a great deal. Recovery Court is not an "easy out."
Participants have to accept responsibility, make restitution to victims, participate in 12-Step and other rehabilitation programs, and meet regularly with the judge and others who volunteer their time and effort to make this program work.
Participants who do not take this program seriously may find themselves in jail serving their suspended sentences.
While Judge Carroll is the most visible person in this program, many others, from both public and private agencies, give of their own time to help those who want to help themselves. They are to be congratulated.
Addiction is a disease. In spite of letters to The Sun taking a contrary view, the overwhelming view of the medical community is that is a disease and a treatable one. And, while everyone is concerned about heroin and other illegal drugs, it is important to remember that our most dangerous and most widely-abused drug, alcohol, is completely legal.
The illicit drug business is simply another capitalist enterprise (albeit illegal). Any market has a supply side and a demand side. As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be those who are willing to take the risk to provide them for profit no matter how strict we make the laws and no matter how many new law enforcement officers we hire. At least there are those like the good people involved in the Recovery Court who are trying to reduce demand for illegal drugs.
Anyone can complain about the opiate problem in the Lakes Region, but what are people doing to solve the problem? These people are doing something.
E. Scott Cracraft
- Category: Letters
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