Individuals who abuse drugs often do so as a means of escape. Typically unable to cope with past trauma, drug users often become addicted to drugs and are unable to quit without treatment which many cannot afford. The high costs associated with drug charges, coupled with the realization that offenders can be rehabilitated are leading many states to provide treatment in lieu of jail time.
A key issue in the treatment of drug offenders is to uncover the root cause of their drug use and then provide counseling. This allows individuals to view their situation differently and develop better and healthier coping mechanisms. When successful, those that undergo drug treatment can go on to become productive and contributing members of society.
In one state that is favoring drug treatment over jail for non-violent drug offenders, rules of the program are strict and focused on successful results. On a weekly basis, participants in the drug court program must submit to three random weekly drug screens, attend one individual and one group counseling session, attend three 12-step meetings, and meet with their case manager.
Additionally, program participants are subject to random visits from their case manager and must adhere to a strict 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Proponents of these types of drug rehabilitation programs believe they do much more to combat repetitive drug crimes than any amount of jail time.
Another attractive benefit of drug treatment programs revolves around costs. While on average it costs about $19,000 per year to jail a non-violent drug offender, it only costs roughly $5,000 to provide them with the treatment and counseling services they need to overcome their addiction.
Source: Enid News, "Drug court program offers substance abusers comprehensive treatment," James Neal, June 30, 2012