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The Downside of Treating Addiction as a Crime

The Downside of Treating Addiction as a CrimeAddiction is the reliance or dependence on a substance. Addiction may be classified as many things, but substance abuse and dependence are the most severe. Addiction to a controlled substance is very dangerous and may be life-threatening.

In addition to the medical side effects of addiction, there may also be legal ramifications. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), substance abuse and the seeking out of addictive substances may lead to arrest, prosecution, and jail time.

Finding Help before Jail Time

It is very important that people who are dealing with addiction find help and treatment options before experiencing legal repercussions. When addiction is present, there are resources available to assist you in finding help, including the following:

  • Counseling centers
  • Mental health centers
  • Therapy options
  • Intervention programs
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • The National Institute of Health (NIH)

While these are not the only options for help, they may help you begin your journey toward recovery before legal trouble begins.

Options for Alternate Sentencing

Buying illegal substances or operating under the influence of addictive substances may lead to legal problems. The criminal justice system also may offer options for avoiding criminal prosecution through alternative sentencing. Some judges or legal services may offer rehabilitation services or community services before jail time.

How Legal Problems Affect Addiction

Jail time, fines, and other legal ramifications may affect addiction. If alternate sentencing is not an option for your situation, many state legal systems offer addiction treatment during sentences. Unfortunately, not all do.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), jail time alone has had little effect in reducing drug addiction or promoting recovery.  Holding someone in jail, without access to alcohol and drug addiction treatment, is ineffective and dangerous. It is because of this that treatment options should be found before legal ramifications become necessary.

Addiction Help

If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, you are not alone. There are treatment options available to help you, no matter your situation. Please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator who can help connect you with the resources you need to find treatment.