Is Imprisonment the Solution to Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is derived from morphine, a natural substance that can be taken from opium poppy plants. While opiates can be used medically for severe pain, they can be very addictive when used compulsively and improperly. This is primarily the reason why the federal government classified them as Schedule I narcotic.
Heroin appears to be a white or brown powder. Sometimes, it is mixed with other drugs or substances like sugar, powdered milk or starch. Heroin addicts report feelings of pleasure, which they refer to as a “rush”. The intensity of the rush largely depends on the amount of drug taken and how fast the drug enters the brain. It can be consumed intravenously, by inhalation through oral pipe, or inhalation through the nose.
Heroin dependency can drive someone to steal, lie, and commit crimes to support a growing habit even if you’ve never had any criminal record in your life. But can punishment really put an end to this unhealthy behavior? As we all know, addiction can be so powerful that it can overcome your fear of losing your job or loved ones. Thus, without proper treatment, you are more likely to end up in that same situation. Alternative sentencing programs give hope to those who are non-violent heroin abusers. It gives them a chance to start new lives rather than be incarcerated without proper treatment for their behavior.
Treatment over Punishment
Alternative sentencing program is based on the notion that rehab is more effective for new offenders than imprisonment. It acknowledges the fact that heroin is capable of turning us into criminals – something that we are not – and that we deserve to recover from addiction. For those who are offered this program, it is an opportunity to change for the better through medically supervised rehabilitation.
Who are Qualified for Alternative Sentencing?
You may be qualified for rehabilitation instead of imprisonment if you:
- Have committed a non-violent crime like drug possession;
- Do not have any criminal record;
- Show that you’d do well with outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation;
- Are deemed qualified by an addiction counselor or mental health professional through thorough evaluation;
- Demonstrate that you are committed to being drug- or crime- free.
What are the Benefits of Alternative Sentencing?
Alternative sentencing not only helps the offender, but the community as well. As we all know, our country has had a lot of drug-related crimes. Taxpayers actually suffer from paying millions of dollars to imprison offenders for drug crimes. Although imprisonment is necessary in cases that harm public safety, putting non-violent heroin addicts in jail may only cost the community money without really providing a solution to the problem itself, which is addiction.
The most important benefit of this program is that drug rehabilitation provides an opportunity to address the real causes of your addiction, to heal past wounds, and mend broken relationships with your family, partner, friends, and even employers. While alternative sentencing doesn’t really make your past go away, it actually gives you the foundation for starting and leading a healthy life.