Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders is one of the fundamental problems of our judicial system— as it directly perpetuates chronic substance abusers rates of recidivism.
Moreover, those enduring the throes of withdrawal are in danger of suffering a preventable fatality and a medley of complicated withdrawal symptoms. According to the NCBI 15 percent of incarcerated persons are addicted to heroin.
Across the entire United States, incarceration systems are being scrutinized for failing to provide adequate drug and alcohol rehabilitation services to those in need. When offenders are released their odds of finding themselves in the system are almost guaranteed.
Perhaps more concerning is one’s increased risk of overdose— by 100 times to be exact.
The incarcerated with untreated substance use disorders are one of the most at-risk populations for preventable death. Specifically, fatal overdose death.
Hamilton County is hoping to change those odds by offering addiction treatment to those in their care.
Instead of throwing Karrie Norgren into a jail cell while she struggled to overcome a long-time addiction to opiates, Hamilton County’s jail saw her need for rehabilitation and did something about it.
Norgren completed a drug-diversion program which equipped her with the life skills and coping mechanisms to overcome her addiction to opiates. Shortly after completing her nine-month rehabilitation program Norgren was offered a full-time position.
Norgen’s future is looking bright— but it should be that way for all non-violent drug offenders.
When substance abusers are incarcerated for petty crimes or possession charges, they are not typically placed into concurrent substance abuse treatment programs. Their behaviors are therefore not changed, and they are locked up again quickly shortly after being released.
Locking up drug addicts doesn’t help them recover.
But diversion programs do.
States concentrating their efforts to earnestly rehabilitate their inmates reduce recidivism rates and improve the lives of the population at large. Successfully rehabilitating drug-offenders lowers crime rates and gives those who were at the mercy of chronic substance use disorders a second chance at life.
Many people who recover from addiction dedicate their lives to helping others.
If you know someone who needs help, or you’re thinking about getting help for yourself, don’t wait.
Click here for direct access to a directory of evidence-based treatment centers.