Sheen urges Congress to pay for drug courts


WASHINGTON -- Martin Sheen says a drug court saved the life of a friend of his who was self-destructing from drug and alcohol abuse.

The actor was in Washington this past week to urge Congress to provide funding for drug courts, which provide addicts with lifesaving alternatives to prison.

Sheen told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he used his friend, whom he did not name, as an example as someone whose addiction could have led to death.

"At a critical point, I had to decide who would speak at the funeral, who should carry the casket," he said. "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," Sheen said.

He said a large percentage of prison inmates are incarcerated for committing crime under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

"So it's a very serious problem and very costly," he said. "And the monies that are spent on drug court and training and in rehab, the dollars are the biggest bargain you can possibly get in public health."