Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Veterans Returning - The Next Treatment Crisis

This article in from the Drug Policy Alliance's Asha Bandale and Tony Newman outlines the next crisis we are going to have in this country as people are returning home from the Middle East.

The stories are pouring in. Large numbers of veterans returning from Iraq are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. A frequent reaction to both of these painful health challenges is the use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs. Veterans, closed out of meaningful support when they return from the frontlines, seek relief of their symptoms through self-medication.

Some get better. Tragically others do not.

For some vets, many of them on longer-than-expected tours of duty, the self-medication begins even before they have left the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. A March 13 front-page story in the New York Times addresses the issue of drug use among soldiers: "It's clear that we've got a lot of significant alcohol problems that are pervasive across the military," said Dr. Thomas R. Kosten, a psychiatrist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. He traces their drinking and drug use to the stress of working in a war zone. "The treatment that they take for it is the same treatment that they took after Vietnam," Dr. Kosten said. "They turn to alcohol and drugs."


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