Addiction is a Disease, Not a Criminal Activity

Posted On December 23, 2015

Today at 2:00 p.m. the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission is holding a public hearing in Room 10 of the State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 to receive public comments on its proposed changes to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.

The proposed changes to the sentencing guidelines for drug offenses reflect society's growing acceptance of the fact that, as Senator Bernie Sanders said recently, "addiction is a disease not a criminal activity.|

We have ample evidence that incarceration is an ineffective and expensive way to deal with the disease of addiction.

Treatment offers the best alternative for interrupting the criminal justice cycle for offenders with drug and alcohol problems. Treatment also saves money. One study found that each dollar spent on substance abuse treatment saved $5.60 in terms of fewer arrests, incarcerations, food stamp use, and less child welfare and medical costs. - National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

The Commission will hold the record open for six calendar days after the public hearing to accept written comments. Submit comments to the Commission's office at 309 Administration Building, 50 Sherburne Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55155; or by telephone at (651) 296-0144; or by e-mail at

Then, on Wednesday, December 30, 2015, at 2:00 p.m., the Commission will meet in Room 230 at the Minnesota Judicial Center, 25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul MN 55155, to formally adopt or reject the proposed amendments. If adopted, the amendments will become effective August 1, 2016, unless the Legislature by law provides otherwise.