The Downside of Treating Addiction as a Crime

Legal problems are one unfortunate consequence of addiction to tramadol.

Social Stigmas: Treatment Deterrents

In the past society viewed drug addiction as a sign of moral weakness and stereotypes of addicts as uncaring reprobates prevailed. Other misconceptions cited by Psychology Today included the following:

  • Addicts are bad, crazy, or stupid.
  • Addiction is a willpower problem.
  • Addicts should be punished, not treated, for using drugs.
  • People addicted to one drug are addicted to all drugs.
  • Addicts cannot be treated with medications.
  • Addiction is not a true brain disease.

Today addiction is recognized as a chronic, relapsing disease that causes long-lasting brain changes. Several key truths that have gained broader social acceptance include the following:

  • Drug addiction is not voluntary – Although a person may have freedom of choice when he or she first starts out as an occasional drug user, changes in the brain that result from ongoing abuse may make using uncontrollable.
  • People who are forced into treatment can benefit just as much as those who choose it – Individuals can succeed in treatment regardless of their motives for seeking help.
  • Treatment is a one-time only event – Many people with severe addiction issues require repeat treatments.
  • There is no magic bullet for addiction – Different people respond to different forms of intervention and recovery.
  • Addiction is a progressive disease

Sadly many individuals still do not get help in part due to lingering misconceptions. The National Institute of Health estimates that about half of state and federal prisoners meet the criteria for drug abuse and dependence and yet fewer than 20% who need treatment receive it. Related statistics include the following:

  • Eighty percent of offenders abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Nearly 50% of jail and prison inmates are clinically addicted.
  • Approximately 60% of people arrested for most types of crimes test positive for illegal drugs at the time of their arrests.

Understanding that substance abuse is a disease to treat instead of a character defect to hide helps some individuals overcome shame and avoid legal problems before they result in costly legal consequences.

How Treating Addiction as a Crime Leads to Violence

No studies have ever failed to positively correlate drug use and crime. Two reasons that partly explain this fact include the following:

  • Individuals who abuse drugs do desperate things when their supplies run out.
  • Intoxication and being high lower inhibitions so that people feel free to commit crimes while under the influence that they would not be capable of sober.

For many drug abuse is a gateway to crime. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that individuals who use illicit drugs are more likely to commit crimes including violent crimes and are more likely to use before or during the commission of an offense. Other characteristics of criminals who use include the following:

  • They are more likely to participate in a wide variety of criminal activity.
  • They are more likely to engage in more violent crime.
  • They are more likely to engage in more serious crime.
  • Heavier use increases likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior.

Although the traditional view has been that drug abuse leads to future criminal behavior, a study published by the United States National Library of Medicine theorizes that drug abuse is part of delinquent behavior not a root cause. The best way to avoid legal and criminal repercussions of drug use, therefore, is to get professional treatment for both the underlying causes of addiction and the addiction itself.

Strategies to reduce drug use and violence are most successful when they address a wide range of individual, relational, social and environmental factors. Several effective approaches offered through recovery centers include the following:

  • “Demand reduction” programs that base treatment on the premise that aggression stems from issues of power and control
  • Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT) that reduces aggression and substance use through commitment to a “sobriety contract” and application of behavioral principles that reinforce abstinence
  • Life Skills Training (LST) that improves coping skills, anger management, communication strengths and stress reduction

The sooner issues of addiction and violence are addressed, the better a person’s chances of achieving full recovery are. Professionals at treatment centers can not only help individuals break an addiction to tramadol but also provide support and services that lay a foundation for a new lifestyle.

Legal Troubles: Options and Solutions

Individuals who are caught in illegal possession of can be charged with heavy fines or sentenced to serve time in jail. However, some individuals are offered alternative sentencing, an option that allows them to attend addiction treatment instead of serving time. Users who qualify for alternative sentencing meet the following criteria:

  • They must be charged with their first or second offence only.
  • They must be on trial for a non-violent crime.

People who attend treatment have dramatically higher recovery success rates than addicts who attempt to quit without the help of a rehab program. Several reasons include the following:

  • In jail users are abruptly cut off from their supply and are forced into a painful detox period.
  • In jail, some users find a continued source of  illicit substances.
  • Addiction recovery counseling sessions are not offered to inmates.

Individuals who choose alternative sentencing receive benefits that include the following:

  • Medically supervised detox services
  • Addiction counseling sessions aimed at discovering the root causes of addiction
  • Identification of relapse triggers

In professional treatment centers individuals are able to see the value of sobriety and avoid ongoing legal problems. By getting sober and avoiding relapse, they are able to achieve freedom not only from legal problems but also the chains of addiction.

Help for Tramadol Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from tramadol addiction, we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you to wellness and affordable solutions. Please call today, and take the first step toward a life of health and wholeness.

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