Further Reading

Extradited for refusing drug treatment

Note: Do you believe that people can be extradited from one state to another for refusing to participate in drug treatment they find stupid, useless, and offensive – even after they have undergone regular drug-testing and fulfilled all their other probation requirements in the first state following a drug offense and shown they are clean? (Old movie fans may remember “I Am A fugitive from a Chain Gang,” in which Paul Muni, wrongly arrested and sentenced to a Southern chain gang, eventually escapes and returns to Chicago, where he achieves success, only to be caught and sent back to finish his time. He escapes again and becomes a perpetual fugitive. This 1932 movie was itself based on a true story.) It happened to this man – and no doubt to many others. This is Arizona, which is extremely proud of its forward-looking probation program which imposes treatment on those arrested for drug offenses. We are looking at the future of drug reform, wrought by well-meaning activists who have superimposed a “disease” (requiring treatment) mentality as a reform for criminal approaches to drug use.

Dr. Peele,

I am on probation for marijuana possession. I got the criminal case in 1998. Despite the fact that I abided by all terms and conditions, and passed the drug tests, they refused to terminate the probation until I completed a state approved treatment program. I absconded from probation out of frustration in 2001, mostly because of a very good job offer in California. I was arrested there and extradited back to Arizona one year ago. Released back onto probation, I expressed to the judge that I objected to treatment and in fact the judge did not impose treatment as a condition of my probation. My probation officer added treatment on her own, taking advantage of a loophole that allows them to impose additional terms and conditions.

This link pretty much sums up Arizona’s treatment agenda http://www.auditorgen.state.az.us/PAD/99-4s.htm “In addition, approximately 30 percent of those ordered to attend treatment never did. This group was more likely to have their probation revoked than those not ordered to treatment and those who completed treatment.” What makes this so funny, of course, is that you cannot complete probation unless you go through treatment. They actually use this information as proof that treatment works!

Fugitive from a Chain Gang

Dear Fugitive:

What can I say? Trapped forever in the American treatment gulag, extradited for refusing treatment for mj, even after you no longer take the drug. If this were retroactive, it could happen to a lot of people – many of them running the country. I will pass your message along to some people in drug policy as an example of the insanity of laws imposing treatment.

It is difficult for me to help you from here. Obviously, you need an attorney – a public defender if you can’t afford one. It seems like it would be worthwhile to make a motion to the judge who sentenced you without treatment to impose no treatment in his order – but how practical this is remains a matter for a local lawyer to decide.

You need to find a psychologist/psychiatrist who can do a real assessment, which presumably would say that a person who has not used drugs for years does not require treatment for drugs – for me, this means someone not involved in 12 steps or an antidrug nut. I would speak to potential therapists by phone and I think you can tell from their tone which way they lean. I would try university psychology departments. I would seek a local anti-drug-war group (search Drug Policy Alliance) and they might have suggestions.

I salute you and all other fugitives from chain gangs.