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US: NPAMC to tackle issue of alcohol misuse and crime

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The National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime (NPAMC) has called for action to be taken on the issue of alcohol misuse and crime in the US.

At a meeting in Washington DC last week, more than 50 "influential organisations" met to discuss tackling what they say is "the most pervasive problem" crippling local governments and corrections agencies nationwide: the epidemic rate of crime related to alcohol misuse in the US.

The meeting was the second for the newly formed NPAMC, a public-private partnership which, according to founder Stephen Talpins, represents the first time that the issue's stakeholders have come together under the umbrella of a single organisation to address the problem.

"Alcohol-involved offenders are literally paralysing the criminal justice system by clogging court dockets, caseloads, and our jails and prisons. We can no longer afford to simply debate the issue," said Talpins, a former DWI prosecutor for the Miami-Dade county state attorney's office.

A recent report by The US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics has estimated that nearly 36% of convicted adult offenders who were under the jurisdiction of probation, jails, prisons or parole agencies had been drinking at the time of their offence.

The financial burden on taxpayers and criminal justice agencies is equally telling, the organisation noted: In 2000, the US surpassed the US$100m-a-day mark in spending to incarcerate individuals with serious addiction problems.

"The numbers, no matter how you look at them, are staggering," said Talpins. "Our goal, quite simply, is to drive systemic change in the way we manage alcohol misuse in the criminal justice system."


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