Rehab vs. jail time for drug abusers

Rehab vs. jail time for drug abusers

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Dr. Diana Dolliver worries more people would rather see drug abusers behind bars than rehab outside of them.

"People just want a simple solution. They don't want to see the problems in their neighborhood," Dolliver told WBRC.

Dolliver, an assistant professor of criminal justice and researcher with Alabama's joint electronic crimes task force, fears a bill going through the state legislature could make it harder for people addicted to drugs to get help.

Legislation meant to fight Alabama's growing opioid problem could treat drug users the same as drug traffickers, according to Dolliver.

"They're also not willing to support more treatment based option for drug abusers as opposed to traffickers," she said.

The bill stiffens penalties and lengthens sentences for people caught with drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

"Our role as prosecutors isn't necessarily to incarcerate everybody, it's to do justice," according to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

He believes a balanced approach is needed.

Dolliver wants to see more input from people in the medical and rehabilitation fields before the bill becomes law.

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