Drug addiction often starts because of medical issues. People start to self-medicate because of trauma. Family history or genetics can play a big role in whether someone can casually use drugs or will struggle immediately with addictive tendencies.
Sadly, for those trapped by addiction, criminal charges may only compound their problems. Facing arrest and incarceration for something you do out of necessity isolates you from your community and might make you paranoid.
To many people struggling with addiction, getting arrested while in possession of their drug of choice is the worst possible thing that could happen. However, if those individuals qualify to go through the drug court, their arrest might actually help them in the long run.
How the Louisiana drug courts work
Louisiana has specialized courts that work in conjunction with the standard criminal court system. These specialized courts include the drug courts and help resolve cases that the criminal justice system is not currently equipped to properly handle. The focus of the drug courts is not incarceration but rather treatment.
For example, the treatment of addiction like a crime means that people often wind up going to prison instead of getting help after an arrest. The drug courts can order treatment, such as a stay at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. They can order counseling and education services, as well as probation.
In theory, those who go through the drug courts and who complete the steps ordered by the courts can avoid having a criminal conviction on their record and all of the consequences that their charge could have carried, such as incarceration.
The drug courts focus on helping people overcome addiction rather than blaming them for it
Addiction is a complicated issue. It has its basis in chemistry, but there are psychological and sociological components as well. The drug courts aim to reduce recidivism among addicts by helping them address what causes their addiction and leads to destructive behavior.
Facing drug charges doesn’t have to be the start of a downward slide for your life. It could actually be the point where things start to get better. Those who qualify for adjudication in the drug courts may eventually look back at their arrest as the experience that helps them get their life back on track.