Opinion

The S.M.A.R.T Program: Two Years Later

Fighting drug abuse is a non-partisan issue; both parties want to focus on treatment for those who use illegal drugs as opposed to prosecution. Although Pew Research studies have found that Republicans are less supportive of treatment options, it is also important to note that Republicans do support effective and efficient measures that will keep the drug situation contained.

It has been two years since the implementation of San Diego’s S.M.A.R.T program, which provided people with multiple misdemeanor arrests with addiction treatment and housing, often in place of jail time. However, throughout these two years, only a handful of clients have successfully graduated from the program.

In July 2017, the City Council voted to allocate an additional $11.2 million to expand the program. However, handing out more money to create more available facilities may not be the most economical option. The supposed justification for the extra expense is that seeing the program continue to run will prove that it genuinely helps people, according Chief Deputy City Attorney Angie Law told Voice of San Diego.

The program has already had issues with expansion despite substantial funding. As a result, additional expenditures are continuing to funnel down the same path, without a clear-cut way for improvement.

Yes, the program admittedly is likely to have more difficulty in its early years as it goes through a trial and error. However, with the small number of clients who have graduated from substance abuse treatment, there is much more work to be done.

Money is clearly not the solution to every problem. As the S.M.A.R.T. program continues to grow, hopefully there will be a more sound basis for making progress on drug abuse.

 

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