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'West Wing' Creator Aaron Sorkin Arrested For Suspected Drug Possession
On January of 2001 Aaron Sorkin , the 39 year old creator of the Emmy-winning drama "The West Wing," told The Associated Press that the problem of alcoholism and drug addiction is "finally coming out of the closet as a health problem, not a criminal problem."  Unfortunately, the war on drugs policy that currently governs the the treatment of addicts in the united States disagrees.  

On April 15, 2001 Sorkin was arrested for the  possession of illegal hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Sorkin was sober and cooperative at the time of his arrest.  He was booked and later released on $10,000 bail. Arraignment was set for April 30.

Sorkin who was treated for cocaine dependence in 1995, has addressed the issue of drug abuse in the West Wing series, portraying the chief of staff as a recovering addict.  Warner Bros. and NBC issued a statement of support.

It is interesting to note that, on the level of national media, the primary focus was upon the law enforcement aspects of this case.  Addiction is primarily a health care problem.  The issue of treatment should be the primary focus with law enforcement playing a secondary and supportive role should an addicted person refuse treatment.

At least this is the way it would work if this nation's policies toward addiction were organized around a Public health Addiction Policy whose primary goal is to help addicts, their families, and their communities instead of a way on drugs policy whose primary purpose seems to be the continued incarceration of non-violent drug addicts in prisons, where for the most part treatment is unavailable.

Hopefully, Sorkin's case can help focus the national spotlight on the real problem that needs to be addressed - the need to reorganize our efforts to deal with the national epidemic under a public health addiction policy, rather than the current War on Drugs Policy.

 

 

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Special Focus:  Mental Health, Substance Abuse, & Terrorism

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