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.”
- New York Times: She Went to Jail for a Drug Relapse. Tough Love or Too Harsh?
- New York Times: If Addiction Is a Disease, Why Is Relapsing a Crime?
- The Atlantic: 'The Court System Shouldn't Interrupt the Treatment Process'
- The Appeal: What's said is not what's done: How Reagan-era drug warrior politics dominate in progressive Massachusetts— and what we can do about it
- U.S. News: If addiction is a disease, should relapse mean jail time?
- WBUR: Mass. High Court Hears Arguments Against Drug-Free Probation Requirement
- Vice: This Woman's Opioid Relapse Could Change Drug Laws Forever
- Boston Globe: SJC to weigh if courts can force sobriety on drug users
- NPR: Court To Rule On Whether Relapse By An Addicted Opioid User Should Be A Crime
- Boston Herald: McGovern: Probation drug testing case has huge implications