Addiction is wiping out tens of thousands across the country each year. Jails nationwide are filled with individuals struggling with substance abuse. Millions aren’t receiving the treatment they require.
What’s the remedy?
That’s a fiercely disputed question. Long before the opioid epidemic hit the US, people disagreed about the best way to deal with chemical dependency. Some say jail is needed; others say it does more harm than good. There are solid arguments for both sides. Let’s go over the highlights …
Treatment, Not Penalty
The American College of Physicians points out that only 18 percent of those struggling with substance abuse get the expert help they need. Many are merely thrown in jail, where they go in addicted and come out addicted. Jails don’t offer enough quality treatment choices. Nothing’s changed when convicts are discharged, so they simply return to their previous lifestyle. How does this system help anyone?
Northlake Recovery believes treatment over jail time is best when dealing with substance abuse disorders. According to statistics provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, for every dollar we spend on treatment, our culture saves $7 down the road in crime and jail costs. With effective treatment options in place, society should see a reduction in prison inhabitants, fewer visits to ERs, and less necessity on probation and psychiatric services. Call us toll free at (561)-770-6616 if you have a question about addiction.
If You Do the Crime …
Advocates for jail time point out that these people are, like it or not, committing crimes. Often, they’re breaking the law continuously. Should they be exempt from the law just because they’re chemically dependent? Do we want to send the message that you won’t face the repercussion of jail if you’re addicted?
Those involved in the legal system point out that few people go to jail for drug use alone. Law enforcement authorities typically focus on dealers and crimes that are often driven by drugs, such as robbery. Proponents of we need to penalize those who commit these crimes, not let them off the hook because they’re hooked on drugs. Anyone breaking the law should pay the penalty, right?
Others point out that jail offers a form of motivation for those struggling with substance abuse. The threat of imprisonment, or incarceration itself, may serve as the catalyst some need to enter treatment. In this way, jail time can be a valuable resource, providing the push needed to make favorable change.
Which Side Are You On?
With valid arguments on both sides, it’s a tough call. And considering the complicated nature of addiction and its treatment method, should it come as a surprise to learn we’re left with more questions than answers? Where should our country focus its energies?
There is substantial and undeniable proof that the origins of addiction started with pharmaceutical companies, doctors that over prescribe, and the lack of government regulations and proper testing on all levels. Here at Northlake Recovery we strongly believe that everyone deserves a second chance at starting fresh, and no matter the situation, judgement through incarceration is the last resort. Every situation and individual addiction is different. Call us today to talk about your futures potential at (561)-770-6616.