Changing the Drug-Related Reputation of Santa Cruz, California

The city of Santa Cruz, California, has the not-too-desirable reputation of being a “haven for heroin.” And the Santa Cruz Sentinel – as a conclusion to a series of reports – has a few ideas on how to change that notion.

santa cruzFirst up is a challenge to the District Attorney’s Office: put drug dealers in jail, and keep them there. The Santa Cruz Police reportedly shared to the Sentinel that the reason why drug users seem to thrive in the city is that they were under the impression that the law was soft on drug-related crimes. If drug dealers are not allowed to strike up plea bargains in order to go back to business, this impression may change.

The second suggestion is to adopt a strategy that is known to work, and for Santa Cruz that strategy seems to point to an option where addicts are subjected to close supervision and made to suffer consequences. This will include the more frequent utilization of Drug Court, which provides frequent reviews, outpatient treatment, drug testing and attendance in 12-step meetings.

Then there is the need to provide funding for the local methadone clinic. The clinic provides immediate and street level-level help; the Sentinel reports that it is cheaper to allocate $335 a month to put addicts on methadone as opposed to placing them in the health care system, as is usually the case when addicts get back on heroin.

Lastly, the Sentinel suggests that everyone pitch in to help local police in cutting off the supply of drugs as well as putting an end to the culture of illegal drugs. Something as simple as a citizen immediately reporting illegal drug activities can help.

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