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The Downside of Treating Addiction as a Crime

The Downside of Treating Addiction as a Crime

In an effort to deter substance abuse and protect the safety of the public, there are several legal repercussions enforced upon substance abusers. Substance abuse and addiction often lead to several legal repercussions such as arrest, jail time, and steep fines. A drug-related crime creates a criminal record for the individual and this record can affect future employment, insurance costs, and more. The legal ramifications of a drug-related crime do not just affect an addict, they affect the lives of their friends, family, coworkers, and his entire community in Kansas City. Unfortunately, when an individual is consumed by a disease as serious as addiction, risks like legal repercussions, poor health, and damaged relationships do not phase them.

Treating Addiction as a Disease Instead of a Crime

Treating addiction-related issues as a crime has it’s benefits and downfalls. Drugs infringe upon the safety of others, which is the primary reason many are illegal or strongly-regulated, but addiction itself is not a crime, it is a disease. Treating addiction as a crime can do a few things to interfere with addiction treatment and recovery. First, it creates a stigma around addiction, and Kansas City residents who know little about addiction will develop negative and inaccurate attitudes, opinions, and beliefs about addictions and addicts in general. This deters individuals from seeking treatment help, because they do not want to be viewed as a criminal. Feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment are commonly experienced by addicts because of the criminal and negative stigma addiction holds. When addiction is treated as a crime, people stray from the fact that addiction is a disease and not a moral flaw or lack of willpower.

The other downside of treating addiction as a crime is that addicts try even harder to conceal their substance abuse so they can avoid legal repercussions. Because an addict’s thoughts and behaviors are fueled by the addiction and the compulsive need to maintain both physical and psychological drug cravings, he will thus go to great lengths to avoid criminal prosecution and the exposure of his addiction. This can prevent friends, family, and others in Kansas City who may be able to help the addict, from recognizing the problem or understanding how serious it is.

Lastly, when addiction is treated as a crime, it reprimands the addict for his illegal activity, but it does not treat the addiction or the issues that lead to the addiction. Alternative sentencing is one option being utilized to help eligible drug-offenders find recovery rather than simply sitting in a cell or paying a fine without getting the treatment they need.

Avoid Legal Ramifications and Get Addiction Help Today

There are so many adverse consequences and legal ramifications a Kansas City resident is at risk for with addiction, and the odds of avoiding any one of these issues are low. The risks of addiction will catch up with you or your loved one, which is why it is never too early to seek help. If you want to avoid the very ugly, legal ramifications and other life-altering consequences of addiction, you can call our toll-free number to speak with a recovery professional about finding treatment. Our recovery professionals are available 24 hours a day to assist you with your search for addiction help. Whether you have questions, need information, or are ready to find addiction treatment and recovery services today, our recovery professionals can help. We are happy to help find and connect Kansas City residents with the addiction treatment that is right for their own, unique recovery needs. To learn more about how we can help you or your loved one, please call and speak with a recovery professional today.

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