Editorial: Lawmakers need to be educated on best practices for helping people with substance disorders

It is frustrating that many of the obstacles faced by people trying to recover from substance use disorders are legal or bureaucratic.

Politics is not typically the best context for making health care decisions. Here’s an example. Wednesday the State Assembly is schedule to vote on a bill that would eliminate the right to a jury trial for parents with substance abuse disorders facing termination of parental rights. This flies in the face of evidence-based research showing far better outcomes for children when the parent receives treatment and recovery coaching. This law is punitive and a bad idea.

More positive was a hearing last week on a bill to make drugs to reverse overdoses available in jails and prisons. Already available to law enforcement on the street, these drugs are life savers. They are critically needed in jails as Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney so eloquently testified. Lawmakers need to be educated on best practices for helping people with substance disorders and then act in ways to support recovery.

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