The Downside of Treating Addiction as a Crime

The Downside of Treating Addiction as a CrimeThere are innumerable reasons for Chicago drug addicts to seek professional help, including the disease’s damage to an addict’s health, relationships and working, living and financial situations. But, one of the most pressing reasons for an addict to recover is the possibility of legal ramifications. Piecing your life back together after addiction is rewarding, but challenging. For instance, recovering addicts face considerable hurdles, from making up for lost time or mistakes with loved ones, to finding employment and winning the daily battle of choosing sobriety over substance abuse. Legal consequences can impede progress in these areas, so it may not be best to punish addiction legally. However, such is the case, so drug addicts must be aware of the dangers they risk.

Why Treating Addiction as a Crime Is Counterproductive

Addiction is a disease, not a matter of willpower. While a Chicago resident initially chooses to abuse drugs, overcoming addiction requires more than a desire to get clean. People often underestimate the power that psychoactive substances have on the brain, because they are controlling substances, so people need help to recover. Because of this, punishing drug addicts forces many addicts to clean up – whether due to distance from the substance or from participating in a court-ordered rehab program. Some addicts are merely jarred into seeing how addiction causes legal ramifications, but treating addiction as a crime is damaging and contrary to the science that it is a disease.

Addiction is an underlying factor in many crimes, but it is not a crime itself. As a treatable condition, addiction must be treated by mental health and medical professionals, less Chicago drug addicts risk face prison time and fines, which will most likely not help them recover.

How Prison Time and Fines Affect Addiction

Punitive measures do more harm than good for Chicago drug addicts and society. Legal consequences, such as prison time and fines, only exacerbate addiction and its underlying psychological issues. Many drug users are non-violent, but they are herded into a harsh criminal justice system when they should be undergoing treatment. Additionally, probationary action can be much more effective at helping addicts recover from addiction. Users who go to court over drug-influenced crimes may be subjected to regular drug testing and probation, and they may be forced to undergo treatment. Even though they are forced into treatment, this is a much more effective use of resources than incarcerating or fining an addict, because neither jail time nor probation address the problem underlying the crimes, addiction. Community service is another route of alternative sentencing, and it is more beneficial than prison time or fines. In other words, Chicago residents can recover if they seek the right help.

Help for Chicago Drug Addicts

If you or a Chicago loved one struggles with addiction, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about your professional treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment program that meets your needs. Please call today to find professional help.