The “war on drugs” has been quite effective with regard to getting addicts off the streets, but it has done little to address the problem of addiction – a disease which plagues millions of Americans. People who are arrested and imprisoned, simply for the crime of being an addict, often find themselves in a hamster wheel.
The rates of jail recidivism among drug addicts who are released is extremely high. Research tells us that jail does little when it comes to teaching people how to live a life free from drugs – something treatment does quite well.
Treatment Over Jail
In many states there exist drug courts, which give those charged with drug crimes the option of probation and addiction treatment counseling as opposed to being locked up. Such programs have been found to save taxpayers money, and help rather than harm a number of people who are already suffering. However, there are many who feel that treatment is more successful when it is not mandatory or forced.
In many states across the country, prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction have become the largest social welfare issue. The death toll related to the use of opioids is staggering and some cities have begun thinking outside the box.
Surrender Your Drugs and Go To Treatment
In the little New England city of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the local police chief launched a novel program which provides substance use disorder treatment for people who turn in their illegal drugs to the police, WBUR reports. Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said that 17 people have accepted the offer thus far.
While the number of people who have accepted treatment may seem small, Campanello points out that 17 people is more than three times the number of people who have died of drug overdoses in a town of 29,000, Needham, MA, this year alone. What’s more, the 17 who surrendered were using opioid drugs, such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone – drugs which all carry the potential for overdose.
“We need to get people into treatment,” Campanello said. “If they fail, we need to get them into treatment again. Just keep trying. Arresting them or coercing them into treatment just doesn’t work.”
If you are struggling with prescription opioids or heroin abuse, please do not hesitate to contact Next Step Intervention. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help show you how to live a life free of opioid addiction.