Ex-Skid Row drug addict slams California's politicians for not 'incentivizing ... trends now
A former homeless drug addict said that California's current political class is failing to help the large and growing population of homeless drug addicts living on the streets of Los Angeles in record numbers.
Jared Klickstein, a recovering drug addict, who spent time living on Skid Row and in prison, told Fox Host Jesse Waters that California politicians are getting the issue wrong.
'People need to be incentivized to get sober. And right now they're being incentivized to kind of do whatever they want - do fentanyl in the streets, commit crimes to support their habits - and it's just not going to fix anything,' he said.
Jesse Watters (left) speaks with Jared Klickstein (right: old image of Klickstein) about his time as a drug-addicted homeless man living on LA's Skid Row
One of the reasons homelessness in Los Angeles is, according to Watters, up 20%, is that the politicians who brainstorm legislative and policy solutions misunderstand the root cause of addiction that many among the population are experiencing.
'I think that the people that are in charge are coming with compassion, but what they're doing is not working,' Klickstein said.
There are at least 69,144 homeless people in Los Angeles County currently, according to data from the city of West Hollywood. That figure is nearly double the number - 36,165 - recorded less than five years ago in 2019.
He said that he got off Skid Row when he was arrested and served six months in county jail, which allowed him to kick the 'physical' side of addiction.
'But see, a big component of addiction is the mental addiction. So jail didn't really do that for me. So what I'm proposing is maybe mandated long term treatment - 1 to 2 years of treatment where we treat psychiatric issues, job training, you know, prepare people for a life that's worth living when they get out,' he said.
He attested to the fact that some addicts need to hit rock bottom before they can get and stay clean, though he said he is not advocating for throwing all drug-addled Skid Row dwellers in prison.
He told Watters that the government programs that use taxpayers dollars to hand out housing vouchers are ineffective because they are not responding to the addiction aspect of the issue.
'If you're homeless because you're impoverished, maybe that helps. But we're seeing the vast majority of these homeless people on the streets of urban centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco, these people are addicted to fentanyl and meth,' he said.
Homeless people are seen in Los Angeles, California