The case Commonwealth v. Eldred addresses whether someone who suffers from addiction can be deemed to have violated their probation when they use drugs, which is a symptom of the disease. 

On July 16, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling siding with the Commonwealth. The following statement is from Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts:
“People should not be imprisoned simply because they stumble on their road to recovery. We are deeply disappointed that the Court has ruled to make probation an instrument of the war on drugs. By doing so, the Court chose a path that will incarcerate people suffering from addiction, interrupt their treatment, and endanger their lives. It is both unsafe and unjust to require probationers suffering from addiction to remain drug free or else face jail. Addiction should be treated as a public health concern, not a criminal justice issue.”




Matthew Segal and Adriana Lafaille (ACLU of Massachusetts)