The criminal justice system has long considered drug abuse and at certain points in United States history alcohol abuse to be a prosecutable offense. For years jails and prisons have been bursting at the seams of people being arrested and charged and convicted of crimes of possession, or some kind of crime linked to trying to acquire an illicit substance, such as theft.

Prison Treatment

The problem with this model of criminal charges and prosecution for possession is that the system doesn’t take into consideration the treatment necessary after removing someone from the substance driving their addiction. Prisons offer little addiction recovery in Florida. Alcohol detox and rehab should be available easily for those who suffer from chemical dependency, along with neuro treatment to assure that any co occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis also also treated. If the criminal justice system is truly interested in fixing the problem with drug and alcohol addiction in our country they need to recognize what science is telling us, that addiction is a disease that requires specific types of treatments.  If we prosecute people due to drug abuse we should also provide them with the treatment necessary to get free from the offending addiction.

Continuing Care

Even if an inmate does get some kind of drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment in prison, it is highly unlikely that they will be offered any kind of after care or continuing care. Often prison funds are not set aside for things like group therapy or other types of specialized mental health care. This sort of neglect for care after detox can be devastating once the person is exposed once again to the substance they are addicted to. This leads to a cycle of addiction to prison that will feed on itself until the addict receives proper treatment.

 

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