The Cycle of Addiction and Incarceration Explained

In the last several decades, the war on drugs has impacted many families with the terrible cycle of drug addiction going hand in hand with incarceration. These struggles have been made all the more difficult by a society that insists on shoving addicts and drug users into a prison environment that simply exacerbates these problems. The result is a terrible recidivism rate and thus, a continuation of the drug problem.

The War On Drugs: Response To “The Next Step In Drug Treatment”

The New York Times editorial board pointed out in a recent piece that, since the current model (also known as chucking drug abusers into prison) isn’t exactly working, it might be wise to pursue other solutions. Chief among these is better access to high-quality treatment. At Blu By the Sea, we believe that every drug abuser has the chance to enjoy a full recovery — but only if he or she is in the right environment. And while the prison environment might temporarily force the drug abuser to abstain from illicit substances, it also encourages a return to these substances upon the prisoner’s release.

Rehabilitation Instead of Punishment…

Instead of treating substance abusers as hardcore criminals in need of heavy-handed justice, it’s high time we provide them with the empathy and care they so desperately need. This approach is certainly not an easy one, as addiction can be incredibly resistant to treatment. But as a long-term solution, it would do far more to address drug-related recidivism than the current model.

A Broken System in Place

Besides the current drug war attitude, the biggest barrier to enacting a successful treatment model in the United States is a complete lack of funding. Our prison system receives massive amounts of taxpayer money each year, but treatment programs are notoriously under-funded. If even a fraction of the money we spend on housing prisoners was diverted to addiction treatment, we could establish a system that would fix the drug problem instead of prolonging it. Fortunately, such funding may finally be on the way, with current elected officials finally showing some openness toward a rehabilitation-centered approach to the so-called war on drugs. If we continue on this path, we may finally be able to make some headway on this crippling societal problem.