|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
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.