November 21, 2008
There have been many surveys, studies, and scientific research devoted solely on trying to understand the obvious link between drugs and crime. It is inevitable that when one becomes involved with drug usage he/she will come in contact with the justice system in one way or another. The prison and jail systems are full of people doing time for acts committed while using and/or abusing drugs and/or alcohol. In this paper I will argue that in order to better these statistics, close collaboration among the criminal justice system and drug treatment agencies is essential in order to introduce more programs into the justice system that teaches these inmates how to better understand their drug or alcohol dependence.
Many people cannot understand why some individuals become addicted to drugs and alcohol and view them as weak individuals with no willpower. This is untrue. One source argues,
“Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite the consequences to the individual who is addicted and to those around that individual. Over a period of time, the changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect the person’s self control and ability to make sound decisions, while sending intense impulses to take drugs.” (Nora Volkow,)
Drug abuse and addiction is becoming a serious and expensive burden on society.
The total overall cost of drug abuse in the United States is estimated to be approximately $181 billion dollars. This figure includes health and crime related costs as well as losses in productivity, but does not even touch on the subject of family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, and other crimes committed while under the influence (National Institute on Drug Abuse-NIDA).
Substance abuse has repercussions that extend far beyond the individual user. “The medical and social consequences of drug abuse-...