Medicine: Prescription from the Bench

Narcotics addiction is both a physical and emotional illness, but doctors rarely get to treat it and can do virtually nothing to prevent it. In the U.S., prevention is left to law enforcement officers, and addicts go from court to jail. This is all wrong, says New York City's Chief Magistrate John M. Murtagh, 48, who from the bench has studied the sordid side of narcotics law enforcement and its failures for ten years. For addicts he urges medical treatment, both physical and psychiatric, as well as help in rehabilitating themselves, and long-term doctors' care. Only thus, he argues, can the...

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