Drug Court Might Not Be the Only Time Seek Treatment for Substance Use Disorder, but It Does Reduce Your Lifetime Risk of Going to Prison
This week, Kara Fletcher, a professor of social work in Canada, published an editorial about how the language we use to discuss substance use disorder and its treatment affects society’s understanding of these issues. Too often, ordinary conversation, the popular media, and even documents issued by the courts themselves, speak of people with substance use disorder as “addicts” and of treatment for substance use disorder as “rehab.” The term “relapse” has taken on an unfairly negative connotation in the context of substance use disorder. When people hear that someone stayed sober for some time and then relapsed, we think of Eminem’s 2009 album Relapse, in which the murderous motormouth Slim Shady returns after a long absence. In a medical context, “relapse” refers to when a chronic illness becomes symptomatic again after a period of being asymptomatic. (For example, the most common type of multiple sclerosis is the “relapsing-remitting” type, where the patient sometimes has symptoms and is no longer in remission.) For many people with substance use disorder, run-ins with the law for drug use are just another symptom, albeit one that can have consequences that make it much harder to get well. Florida’s drug courts can help you get treatment instead of punishments that just compound your suffering; a Central Florida drug crimes defense lawyer can help you navigate them.
Sobriety Does Not Begin and End with Drug Court
As of June 2020, Florida has 94 pre-trial drug courts, and 10 counties have post-adjudicatory prison diversion programs for defendants in drug cases. The Central Florida counties with post-adjudicatory programs are Orange, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Marion, Polk, Seminole, and Volusia. These programs aim to keep people charged with drug crimes out of prison. For some people, a prison term is the beginning of a new life of sobriety, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Effective medical care and a social and emotional support network are important predictors of how long a person with substance use disorder can abstain from drugs or alcohol, and prison is far from an ideal environment for finding those things.
Many people who successfully complete the substance use disorder treatment ordered for them by the court will use drugs again at some point in their lives and will seek treatment again. That is just the nature of substance disorder, like so many other chronic illnesses. If that happens, it does not mean that drug treatment has failed, and it certainly does not mean that the person has failed.
Let Us Help You Today
A Florida drug offense lawyer can do more than just negotiate a plea deal or establish reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors. Your lawyer can help connect you to substance use treatment and may be able to keep you from getting a criminal record. Contact FL Drug Defense Group for help with your case.