Rehab Instead of Jail: Police Plan to Strike a Blow For Addiction Recovery

Judges gavel and pills

Millions of people in the United States are arrested on alcohol and drug-related crimes each year. More than 24.5 million Americans have a substance use disorder, and some of the risky behavior associated with substance misuse can lead to criminal charges.

Unfortunately, spending time in jail does not cure addiction. Even though about half of all prison inmates meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, only about 10 percent receive any type of treatment. Many go on to reoffend, ending back in the same place.

The city of Miami and other locations nationwide are trying to address this issue by offering offenders drug rehab instead of jail time.

Why Drug Rehab Instead of Jail?

While drug rehab does not eliminate substance-related crimes, it significantly reduces them. The U.S. Department of Justice directly correlates addiction with committing crimes, and treating addiction can help lower crime rates. According to a 2000 report by the U.S. Department of Justice, 75 percent of people released from prison were rearrested compared with 57 percent who received addiction treatment.

There are cost savings to this approach as well. What many people do not realize is that treatment is less expensive than incarceration is. A 2012 study published in the journal “Crime and Delinquency showed that if just 10 percent of offenders with a substance use disorder receive treatment instead of jail time, the criminal justice system would save $4.8 billion. If 40 percent received treatment, that figures would rise to $12.9 billion.

Miami’s New Prearrest Diversion Program

In 2018, Miami officials announced that they’ll begin offering a new diversion program aimed at helping people avoid jail time so that they can get the addiction treatment services they need. The Miami Police Department, working together with several local health agencies, has developed a prearrest diversion program for offenders with an opioid use disorder.

A person arrested with a small amount of opioids will be offered addiction treatment services. This will involve a one-year outpatient program that includes medication-assisted treatment, mental health counseling, social services and general medical care. The program is scheduled to begin offering treatment in May 2019 and plans to treat about 100 people over a three-year period.

Miami police and health officials hope that this new approach will help slow the opioid trade in the area. This is the same group that recently launched a needle exchange program in the city to lessen the health impact of addiction and help encourage more people to seek treatment services.

Man in jail

Studies show that failing to provide addiction treatment will lead to higher re-arrest rates.

Do You Need Opioid Addiction Treatment?

Whether you have been referred by the courts or have just had enough of the pain associated with opioid addiction, the Orlando Recovery Center can help. If you are looking for addiction treatment resources in Florida, this facility provides a full range of services that begins with a comprehensive assessment and can include medical detox, medication-assisted treatment, inpatient and outpatient care, and aftercare.

Contact Orlando Recovery Center now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about our programs and take the first step in your recovery journey.