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Controversial billboard sparks emotion and drug use debate

For those who don't work within or who have not been somehow ensnared in the legal system, it can be hard to realize that behind every arrest, every case number, there is a person. That person who has been arrested and perhaps found guilty of drug crimes has a story, family, possible medical condition and possible addiction. 

Drug use and addiction is a sensitive matter. Many people have been affected by addiction during their lives, likely having known and loved someone who has battled substance abuse. A billboard recently displayed but then taken down out of state serves as a reminder that drug cases are complex. They can be personal. They can turn tragic. 

A mother who lost her son to a heroin overdose was outraged by the billboard that read, "Addiction is preventable. Parenting is prevention." It offended her and those who supported her fight to get the sign down by suggesting it is parents' fault when their children turns to drugs. 

She argues, "Fighting addiction isn't easy." Critics of the system's overall focus on locking up drug users as a means to combat drug crimes would probably argue that fighting drug crimes is so hard because the mother is correct: "Fighting addiction isn't easy."

The criminal justice system's status quo, some believe, does not effectively address the problem of addiction, and therefore, recidivism. According to a Washington Post piece from earlier this year, heroin-related deaths some communities have. Processes need to change in order to better combat the danger of drugs. 

Enough members of the community agreed with the mother about the addiction billboard. The sign was taken down. While the billboard incident isn't connected to matters of criminal legislation or drugs, it does show that there is a misconception about drug use and addiction. It also proves that community concern can lead to action. 

When you or someone you love is threatened by Massachusett's strong (and perhaps misguided) stance on drugs and its related laws, find a criminal defense lawyer who understands not just the complexity of the state's drug laws, but of every client's unique situation, too.

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