Often, the knee-jerk reaction by the authorities is to propose jail time and fines for anyone facing drug charges. But is simply locking someone up really the solution that we need? Is that how we should be treating their condition?

After all, addiction may be the real issue, the real reason they used or abused drugs. We know that addiction is a medical condition. It’s not a choice. Putting someone in jail is an attempt to get them to make better choices by showing them what will happen if they don’t. But, if they’re not making a choice in the first place, does that make any sense?

You can argue that it doesn’t, and many reform efforts have focused on putting offenders into treatment programs instead. These programs recognize that people may be making decisions that they regret simply because they are addicted, and they do not have the help that they need getting through that medical issue. Jail time neglects the true problem and just makes it likely that they’ll get arrested again. Treatment can improve their lives and keep them out of the system in the future.

After all, isn’t that the goal? With things like the opioid epidemic, shouldn’t the goal be to stop people from making dangerous and even life-threatening decisions? The justice system should seek to help them, not just to punish them for something that is out of their control.

If you have been arrested on drug charges, it is wise to look into all of the options that you have. In some cases, you may be able to push for a treatment program that actually helps you, rather than jail time that does nothing.