The Washington state Legislature is considering taking a very important departure from the failed war on drugs, which has disproportionately targeted low-income and minority communities.

Senate Bill 5476 and House Bill 1499 would provide effective treatment and support for people with addictions by improving access to mental-health treatment, health care and housing, rather than expensive and harmful incarceration.

As a psychologist, I am very familiar with the damage done by needless incarceration. Rather than deter drug users, jail tears apart families and deters people from asking for help. Let’s spend money on treatment, not jails!

Tony Rousmaniere, PsyD, Seattle