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Chronic, hardcore drug use is a disease, and anyone suffering from
a disease needs treatment. But many addicts also are criminals who
infringe on or violate the rights of others. In these instances, a
balance should be created between sanctions for criminal activity and
treatment of an addictive disease. There is compelling evidence to
support the fact that treatment is cost-effective and provides significant
public safety benefits by breaking the cycle of drug use and crime.
However, criminal acts must be punished, and tough sanctions often are
needed to force drug-addicted criminals to stop using drugs and committing
crimes. The National Drug Control Strategy
calls for drug treatment and tough, punitive sanctions to be used in a
coordinated fashion to improve public safety and to give chronic, hardcore
drug users a chance to recover from addiction.