Synopsis: Substance abuse treatment greatly improves the chances of breaking criminal offense cycles. The judicial system uses consequential punishments to deter repeated drug offenses while substance abuse treatment aims to rehabilitate.
A common and cyclical movement of those with substance abuse disorders and the paths of substance abuse treatment versus incarceration is demonstrated in our legal system by which the practice of requiring people with addictions to remain drug-free as a condition of probation for drug-related offenses and of criminalizing relapse. Being that addiction is considered a brain disease and relapsing is a symptom of it, it can be contemplated how the laws are encouraging, rather than narrowing, success rates. If the policies in place are not setting an offender up for optimal recovery then perhaps that can best be achieved by a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program. Treatments can involve medication, psychotherapy and long-term follow up.
The sustainability of such treatment programs far surpasses the costs and tribulations of criminalization, yet imprisonment for nonviolent drug offenses and the respective statistics are still staggering. While consequences in any legal system are necessary, they should be with the primary intention of individual rehabilitation. The criminal justice system utilizes punishments to deter repeated drug offenses while substance abuse treatments aim to wholly rehabilitate.