The response to drug use in the United States has been fairly simple. The government made most drugs illegal, and they set up strict ramifications for breaking these laws. Drug use can often lead to at least some time behind bars.
But is this actually the best approach? Or is it wildly missing the mark?
Addiction can be treated, but it usually isn’t
Most experts agree that addiction is a real medical condition. They call it a “treatable disease of the brain.” This sounds fairly obvious in 2021, but it wasn’t always looked at this way, and the laws reflect that.
What happens, these experts warn, is that most people who need this treatment for a disease actually do not get any treatment at all. In the case of drug addiction, they may simply be forced to pay a fine and spend a set amount of time in jail or even in prison.
When that person gets out, is it any surprise that they may turn back to the same drug use habits that led to the arrest? They still have the disease. They were never treated at all. Nothing was actually done to help them or break that addiction. Of course they’re going to return to it.
The law acts as if everyone makes a conscious choice to break the law and use drugs. Someone who is addicted isn’t making a choice, though. The disease is making it for them. Punishing them without treatment just means that they’ll go right back when they have the chance, and they’ll “make” that same choice again.
Jail time may act as a deterrent for some crimes. Individuals who are deciding if they should break the law or not may opt not to if they know the punishments are severe. But there’s a real risk in treating drug addiction like nothing more than yet another crime, when the medical community knows that it’s not.
Have you been arrested?
If you have been arrested on drug charges, you’re likely worried about your future. Make sure you understand all of your legal defense options, especially if there are tactics that could keep you from senseless punishments.