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How Addicts Can Stay Out of the Justice System

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Substance abuse and criminal offenses often go hand-in-hand. Simple possession is a serious crime in itself, and it’s not uncommon for those struggling with addiction to turn to illegal acts as a way of sustaining their lifestyle. Unfortunately, jail time doesn’t help with addiction, and many people find themselves back on the street and committing the same crimes again as soon as they’re released. While crime should not go unpunished, offenders with an addiction need to receive treatment and resources that allow them to change their lives for the better. As we read in James 5:15, “…the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up,” so we know God is there to help us to make these changes. Relying on God to help you is important, but there are services available that are also necessary to help you along your journey to recovery. Here are a few services that can help.

Legal Representation

As Schnipper Law says, anyone going through the pretrial and trial process should do so with a lawyer present to get the most lenient sentence. Many people with substance abuse problems were under the influence at the time they committed their crime. Impaired judgment from intoxication can ultimately lead people to make impulsive decisions they would not make otherwise. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to help you strike a deal that avoids a jail sentence and mandates that you undergo drug treatment and perform community service instead.

Drug Courts

According to the National Drug Court Resource Center, drug courts give people wrestling with addiction the chance to get help instead of struggling in jail. Going through withdrawal behind bars can be an extremely traumatic experience, and it’s much better for people to receive treatment instead of punishment. Of course, severe crimes require punishment, but mild offenses and misdemeanors can often be a side-effect of addiction rather than a reflection of someone’s true character. Judges in drug courts strive to see the good in people and want them to get help. Defendants can often receive access to the treatment they need rather than facing more jail time.

State-Sponsored Drug Treatment

Free drug and alcohol rehab can make the difference between life and death for many people. Some would rather end their own lives than wind up in jail again. While there are thousands of state-sponsored programs throughout the United States, waiting lists can leave many people suffering from substance abuse for months or even years without treatment. Others may try to quit drugs alone and relapse, often dying from an accidental overdose. Anyone who wants to get help should explore all of their options in depth. Contacting private rehabs that offer payment arrangements is one way to get immediate help when free programs are unavailable or services are inadequate.

Although substance abuse is no excuse to commit a crime, it’s important for those in authority to look at the connection between criminal behavior and addiction. By addressing the underlying problem, governments and organizations can lower crime rates, reduce drug use, and save lives.

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