Individuals who are addicted to drugs will often do things that are uncharacteristic of what they’d do if they were sober — and that includes all kinds of criminal activity. The lure of their addiction is simply stronger than their fear of the law.
Isn’t there a way to get to the root of the problem? Critics of the legal system say that addressing addiction is a much better way of ending the criminal problems than simply punishing addicts for their offenses.
What type of criminal activity is associated with drug addiction?
The Department of Justice notes that there are three distinct types of crimes that are attributed to drugs:
- Charges that relate to the lifestyle of the drug addict
- Charges involving the manufacturing, possession or sales of drugs
- Charges that involve efforts to obtain drugs or money for drugs, such as theft
In some cases, the charges that a drug addict will face can fall into more than one of these categories.
How can the criminal justice system prevent recidivism?
The criminal justice system can utilize programs like drug courts to help drug addicts who want to kick their addiction. This is a court-ordered and court-supervised drug rehabilitation program that focuses on helping these individuals to become sober and learn how to live a life without drugs.
Drug court balances the need for rehabilitation with the need to issue a punishment for the crimes. This program isn’t available for all individuals. For example, people who have violent criminal charges won’t be able to use drug court.
Anyone who’s facing criminal charges should ensure they know their rights and the options they have for a defense or alternative sentencing options. Exploring these early in the case gives them time to consider each one and how they will impact the person’s future.