Fight crime by treating substance abuse

Fight crime by treating substance abuse

On March 27, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger what percentage of crime in Baltimore County was due to drugs. His answer: “Upwards of 85 percent.” I then asked Baltimore City Police Major Byron Conaway the same question, and his answer was “90 percent.”

As an E.R. doctor, I ask my patients who are substance abusers where they get the $50 a day needed to sustain their habit. Many get others hooked because then those new users become paying customers. There’s also petty crime, prostitution and the major crimes that plague our streets and neighborhoods.

If we are to be serious about reducing crime, then the focus...