Martin Sheen Backs Drug Courts

Voices: Martin Sheen saw someone 'near and dear' in the grip of drug abuse.

ByABC News

June 17, 2007 — -- Martin Sheen, who played a president on "The West Wing," came to the real Capitol this week to lobby for drug courts, telling the media, "I'm here, as well, to urge Congress to support these program by providing adequate funding, both now and in the years to come." He's convinced that these alternatives to prison for drug addicts save lives.

To learn more about the bi-partisan effort to restore funding to drug court programs, you can go to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Web site.

Martin Sheen: I saw someone near and very dear to us self-destructing in the grip of drug and alcohol abuse.

At a critical point, I had to decide who would speak at the funeral, who should carry the casket. That's where you go, and you have to be prepared to say, "I did everything that I possibly could."

Well, I had not yet. I had one more option, and that was Drug Court. That's what saved his life and mine.

You go into the jails today [and] a good portion of the population -- it's estimated almost 50 percent -- are in there for having committed some felony or capital crime under the influence of drugs or alcohol who wouldn't normally have done such a thing. It's a very serious problem, very costly, and the monies that are spent on drug court and with training, and in rehab, the dollars are the biggest bargain you could possibly get in public health.

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