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Best Local Issue We’re Sick Of

Drug treatment

For those who think lots of money is made in the street-drug business, well, you are absolutely right—but perhaps not in the way that you think. Sure, street sales of smack and coke are brisk as ever, but the black-market industry carries tremendous risks—jail and drug-turf violence among them. It’s the legitimate end of the drug game where large profits are safely made: in the drug-treatment industry. Here’s a business model that enjoys society’s ringing endorsement because it’s beyond debate that addiction needs to be treated, yet it thrives because, for the most part, drug treatment doesn’t work. The less it works, the more demand grows, and raising funds to perpetuate the availability of treatment services has become an end in itself. There’s scant evidence of positive outcomes, which are hard to measure, yet the money keeps rolling in and at least some providers game the system with little oversight. It’s a depressingly intractable scene, rife with false hope and shady money, in symbiosis with its parallel industries: drug-dealing and providing group homes for addicts in treatment. Yes, the work must go on, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be sick of it.

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