Drug Policy Study

On January 21, 1997, the Connecticut Law Revision Commission released a report on drug policy to the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly. The report was the culmination of over a year of study and analysis of Connecticut's existing policy and of alternative models that might be adopted to reduce the harmful effects resulting from drug abuse.

Substance abuse is a major -- if not the number one -- health problem in this country. More deaths, illnesses, and disabilities result from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. Costs related to substance abuse are a major contributor to the country's total health care bill. The total economic cost to the U.S. economy -- including increased health care costs, poor health, absenteeism, and reduced productivity in the workplace, and drug- related crime and violence -- is enormous. In 1994 Connecticut alone spent $2.96 billion on substance abuse costs.

And now injecting drug users are spreading AIDS and other infectious diseases. We urgently need to bring all drug abusers within the health care system. We must find effective ways of dealing with the underlying problem of drug abuse. Current policies, which have only limited effectiveness and high costs, must be reexamined. New approaches must be developed.

The Law Revision Commission has drawn the following conclusions: