Drug addiction rehabilitation is finally becoming an option for many drug offenders but, make no mistake, someone you care about could easily turn criminal and wind up in prison.
If you’re worried about someone you know who’s taking drugs getting into criminal activity, you have every reason to be. The number of people in prison for drug-related offenses highlights just how many people are actually taking drugs and getting involved in crime – often simply to support their own habit. The prison population is such a heavy financial burden, the laws are starting to loosen up. And, thanks to drug courts, some offenders can now go into a drug treatment instead of prison.
Lightening up on the laws is definitely called for. A recent article in the magazine Mother Jones chronicled some of the legal changes in the last 20 years and the effect they’ve had on the prison population.
In 1986, for example, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act made the sentence for selling or possessing crack cocaine 100 times stricter than for powdered cocaine. The prison population doubled over the next ten years.
Two years later, the Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act mandated that anyone even loosely connected with the sale or possession of certain quantities of crack would also get a five-year sentence. In other words, if you lived with someone who had five grams of crack on the premises, even if it had nothing to do with you, you could go to prison for five years. In the six years following that law, the number of people in prison for drug offenses quadrupled. And offenders still didn’t have the option of a drug rehab. That didn’t start for another ten or twelve years.
In 1994, the three-strikes law was enacted in California making the sentence for a third felony conviction 25 years to life. According to Mother Jones, one such offender was a homeless man who tried to take food from a church. Within a year or so, the three-strikes law was in 24 states.
These laws, and there are many more, are a large part of the reason one in ten Americans is now in prison.
How many of those people would be better off in a drug addiction treatment center? And if these are just the people who got caught, how many more people are out there who also need a drug addiction treatment center and are likely to wind up in prison instead?
Some prisoners are now being released early. Some are getting the rehab treatment they need. So things are changing. But if changes in drug laws can create this kind of effect, it’s clear that we need to spend a lot more money on drug addiction treatment centers if we want to spend less on prisons, the justice system and law enforcement.
Investing in high quality, successful drug addiction treatment centers could have a huge impact on our faltering economy. It would also reduce drug addiction and crime – and we spend billions on that in addition to the legal and prison system costs – and we’d save a lot of lives in the process instead of taking drug addicts and turning them into drug addicts who are also hardened criminals.
Can someone you know who’s taking drugs become a criminal? Absolutely. Get them into a drug addiction treatment center before that happens. They need drug rehab, not prison.
Some people with family members or friends who are drug addicts are alcoholics think they’re going to get straightened out in prison.They’ve tried what they thought should work to get the person to quit drugs or drinking, but it hasn’t worked. They may even have been through drug addiction treatment of some sort – although not usually the long term residential treatment that has the best success rate. Still, it was treatment, and you think (rightly or wrongly) that it gave them a chance.
Some pharmacies in Tampa, Florida are going to quit carrying OxyContin because of the number of robberies that have taken place. As discussed in an earlier blog, many addicts are so afraid of withdrawal symptoms that they take a chance on prison. How prison sounds better than drug detox or drug rehab is confusing though. Although, if you can steal hundreds of pills worth between $40 and $80 dollars you can make a lot of money, assuming you aren’t just using them to feed your own habit. At Drug Rehab Referral we recommend drug detox and drug rehab rather then risking prison.
Purdue Pharma, the company that introduced the world to a drug called OxyContin and hiding how addictive it is and is therefore responsible for some of this crime, has helped develop a database to track OxyContin robberies in pharmacies.
The vice president of security for Purdue, Aaron Graham, says they get a lot of questions about pharmacy crimes. In fact, he says people ask him if pharmacy crimes are up. In case anyone is unaware of the answer, yes, they are up. So much so, in fact, that some pharmacies in Tampa won’t carry OxyContin.
But Tampa isn’t the only area affected. Pharmacy crimes are up everywhere. Search ‘OxyContin crime’ on Google or Yahoo and you’ll see what I mean. I think you’ll be surprised how many stories there are over a week’s time – 25 or 30 is not unusual.
Graham says that “because there has never been a national database, we don’t know whether tomorrow is going to be more than yesterday.” The national database won’t tell anyone whether OxyContin-related crime will be up tomorrow, you need some sort of predictive software for that. But it isn’t much of a guess at all – it will be. OxyContin-related robberies will continue to go up for quite a while unless drug stores stop carrying physical inventory. However, there is another option; people from Florida who are addicted to or dependent on OxyContin could get into a drug detox or drug addiction rehabilitation.
People who face felony charges in Kentucky may be able to get the drug detox and drug rehab they need. Senate Bill 72, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dan Kelly, R-Springfield, would allow the department of corrections to set up an intensive secure drug rehab program for certain drug felony charges. The programs would run for 3 months to a year and allow people to avoid a felony conviction.
Programs such as these might reduce the growing prison population. Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in Kentucky and if this new bill catches even a few people who are not hardened criminals, the program could be a success – Kentucky is such a hotbed for prescription drug users, some of whom turn to crime to feed their habits, anything that stops that vicious cycle will be good, even if it is in a secure facility.
After care is also being addressed in the bill, which could also prove to be helpful for people who became addicted to drugs and turned to crime.
There will also be skills training – which I hope will include life skills. At Drug Rehab Referral we send people to drug rehabs that have life skills programs and the success rate seems to be better (from our experience).
More drug addiction rehabilitation in Kentucky is desperately needed – and this is a good step.
Drug addiction becomes more and more inevitable in the Tucson area due to the high volume of drugs going through the streets. Drug addiction treatment is a necessity for those who have spent much of their lives abusing chemicals.
From 1988 to date, there have been over 2 million pounds of marijuana seized in the Tucson area. The studies show that Tucson, AZ is a major transshipment point for all kinds of drugs that are going to be exported to the rest of the United States.
Cocaine is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the Pima County area. Cocaine abuse has taken hold of the drug community and has even exceeded marijuana use. Cocaine has a dangerous effect on the body causing the heart to beat much faster, and it puts a strain on all organs in your body. More and more deaths each year are a direct result of drug overdoses. Most of these overdoses are from accidental poisoning rather than the abuse itself.
Alcohol is also a very prominent catalyst in Tucson for criminal offenses. The amount of DUI cases has steadily progressed for the past 5 years. The tragedy goes as far down as 12th grade students admitting that 77% of them in some areas abuse alcohol on a regular basis.
Drug rehab in Tucson is readily available and almost a fifth of the people arrested have attended some sort of out-patient treatment. That fact alone shows that it is an everlasting struggle – unless you can find the right sort of rehab program for the individual who needs treatment.
Finding the drug or alcohol rehab program that’s right for each individual’s situation is crucial to actually rehabilitating the drug addict or alcoholic. Many options are available to those who want the help. To help a loved one, or yourself, you must be educated on what types of services are available and which would be best for you. Contact us at Drug Rehab Referral and speak with an experienced counselor who can answer all your questions and point you in the right direction.
You don’t have to do this alone. We’re here to help.
Today I read a story in the York Daily Record about a guy who was sentenced to six years in prison on burglary charges. He was remorseful, and said the burglaries were fueled by his addiction to crack cocaine. What’s going to happen to him? In all likelihood, he’ll do his time, then go back out on the street and start the same thing all over again. And he’ll probably wind up back in prison – one more turn in a never-ending cycle. The only real hope he has of getting off the merry-go-round is a drug addiction rehabilitation program that gets down to the bottom of why he’s taking drugs.