The International Narcotics Control Board has characterized the United States as “the biggest illicit drug market in the world.” The toll on American society has been considerable. America’s prison population has tripled in the last 17 years, and drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are implicated in the incarceration of 80 percent of the men and women incarcerated in state, federal and local prisons, according to a 1998 report from the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). A workable jail alternative is clearly needed.

All told, one out of every 144 Americans is behind bars for a crime in which drugs or alcohol are involved, and the majority have no jail alternative. Thirty billion taxpayer dollars are spent a year to incarcerate them. CASA estimated in 1996 that if current trends continue, by the year 2000, America would be spending $100 million a day to jail individuals with serious drug and alcohol problems.   Atlanta Recovery Center

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