Is Court Ordered Rehab Effective?
It takes a lot to convince an addict to go to rehab. To truly have a chance at sobriety, the desire to get sober must exist within their mind. It is a decision that needs to come from within. Some addicts consider court-ordered rehab a get out of jail free card. It may also become means for an addict to secure child custody. It can be effective in some cases, but this isn’t always so.
What is Court Ordered Rehab?
Many times, law-offenders are ordered to attend rehab instead of facing jail time, or as an alternative to paying hefty fines. This usually happens in one of following ways:
- A judge orders a person to go to addiction treatment as part of their sentence.
- A deal may be reached between the lawyer and the court that has addiction treatment as part of the agreement.
- Drug court might be ordered as an alternative to criminal court.
- House arrest and treatment may be sentenced as a combination.
- Treatment while in prison may shorten a person’s sentence.
People have to be eligible for court-ordered rehab, it isn’t an option for everyone. Sentencing laws vary in different places, but it is usually an option for people who have committed their first offense, have a drug-related offense like a DUI, and the crime did not consist of physical or sexual harm to anyone involved.
When is Mandatory Rehab Effective?
Mandatory rehab is only effective if the person going into it genuinely wants to get sober. If they don’t, the chance of relapse after treatment is very high. Sometimes committing a crime that involves drugs or alcohol is enough to push a person to want to get treatment. This is especially true if kids are involved or the individual faces the possibility of losing custody. Serious personal threats — employment, family, or residence — typically motivate the average person to get their act together.
These people may not realize just how bad their addiction got until they got into trouble with the law. It serves as a wake-up call that they still can have the chance to straighten up. For example, if someone gets their second DUI, they’ll realize that things aren’t a joke and they need to shape up before a third completely destroys their life. For addicts caught buying or selling drugs, a sentence may be a proverbial smack-in-the-face, and a necessary wake-up call to make better life decisions.
While Friends and family can express their concerns about addiction until they are blue in the face, sometimes it takes a third party intervention (like law enforcement) for the addict to realize the severity of their actions.
When Mandatory Rehab Can Fail
When a person doesn’t intend on getting clean and sober, no amount of rehab will help. A person who committed a crime related to drugs or alcohol might seek out treatment just because they see it as an easier alternative to a jail sentence. Or, they may think that drug court is better than criminal court.
These people are looking for an easy way out, and not to change their lives for the better. They aren’t likely to commit to an extensive treatment plan, but only to the minimum available. Even if they have life or familial commitments on the line, their addiction is still the most important.
When an addict is sentenced to rehab, this person will take away precious beds and space from people who actually want help. There are so many cases where people who need help can’t get it because they cannot afford it, or there is no room available at the treatment center they want to go to. These people sadly end up ODing or getting into significant other issues because of their addiction.
Also, people who are not committed to recovery do take away time from others in treatment sessions, like group therapy. They are disruptive, uncommitted, and may make things uncomfortable for everyone else.
The Consequences That Follow
One of two things will happen when someone receives a court-ordered rehab sentence: they will get clean and face their lives sober; or, they will leave rehab early and end up right back where they started. These people will often get into more trouble with the law down the line. Furthermore, treatment won’t be an option after the second or third offense.
For an addict who is on the fence about going to treatment, family support can motivate a decision to make some positive changes in their life. Loved ones and family members should involve themselves in the treatment process. They also need to learn how to cope with their loved one’s addiction.
There are many addicts who fail even after going to rehab, but there are also a ton of positive stories (link to testimonials page here) that offer promise and sobriety to addicts who are willing to do the work.