YARDLEY, Pa., April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Attitudes toward drug crime may be changing. A recent Pew Research Center poll reports that two-thirds of Americans would rather see illegal drug offenders enter programs that focus on rehabilitation than go to prison. Are we finally beginning to understand addiction as a public health issue worthy of medical treatment and not a crime deserving of punishment?
The math makes sense. The journal Crime & Delinquency reports that if just 10 percent of eligible offenders were treated in community-based programs instead of prison, the criminal justice system would save $4.8 billion.
Another contributing factor is that perceptions about drugs like heroin are changing. Modern heroin abuse often starts in a doctor's office with a prescription for painkillers. Addiction is more real and more shocking when it happens on Main Street (Back from Brink of Heroin Abuse by Barbara Laker, March 2nd 2016).
The biggest impact on public opinion however could simply be that incarceration is not working, while drug treatment programs are getting results. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, scientific research shows that rehabilitation can help many drug offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors; avoid relapse; and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance use and crime.
Treatment works because it addresses root issues. An addict need not be at rock bottom or even have the desire to overcome addiction. It might take legal pressure to get a person into rehabilitation, but once there they often become engaged in the process. In fact, research suggests that mandated treatment can be just as effective as voluntary admission to a treatment program.
Liberation Way is one of the drug rehabilitation centers on the front lines of this recovery revolution. They heal addiction with individualized treatment programs and by advancing forward thinking legislation like Anthony's Act, a bill supporting a minimum of Ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol treatment for addicts.
Michael Armstrong, a community outreach counselor for Liberation Way, says that he notices something in common amongst the people who accept and ultimately succeed at recovery: "They end up realizing that everything happens for a reason and they embrace their past, they own it as part of their story but they don't let it define them. Their perception on life changes and they see things through a new set of eyes. This is something that is seen not through words but through their actions, you can just tell they get it."
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SOURCE Liberation Way