The Path Forward: Decriminalizing addiction through diversion

In Alamosa County, law enforcement officers who believe drug abuse is at the root of a person's criminal behavior can refer that person to treatment and other services, rather than arresting and jailing them. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, used in multiple places around the country, has helped the county jail fewer people and send more into treatment. It also has caused a large drop in arrest warrants, because case workers help people make their appointments in court and elsewhere. Now, San Miguel County, N.M., is working to adopt LEAD, though it needs more treatment facilities.

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