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Addiction and Incarceration

man struggles with signs of addiction

America has the highest prison rate in the world, with a reported 2.2 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. in 2016. It is estimated that at least half of these prisoners have a history of drug abuse, and many continue to use drugs and alcohol while behind bars. Substance abuse has a complicated relationship with illegal activity. Being drunk or high can lower inhibitions and affect judgment, causing an individual to act violently or recklessly. Additionally, many of the people who are most vulnerable to addiction are also experiencing circumstances that may lead to a life of crime such as poverty, structural oppression, and poor mental health.

Drugs and Prison

Research has shown that as many as 83% of those arrested are found to have drugs in their system, yet only 11% of inmates with substance use disorders receive treatment while behind bars. Many people spending time in jail or prison are there as a direct result of drug use, possession, or dealing, and may otherwise have no history of violent or deviant behavior. Unfortunately, many individuals who are arrested on drug charges go on to escalate in their criminal behavior due to exposure to other incarcerated individuals as well as the setbacks that come from trying to readjust to life after incarceration.

Finding Effective Treatment

While many prisons do offer some form of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, the quality of care can vary, and many individuals find it difficult to balance treatment and prison culture. Additionally, many incarcerated individuals with addictions are also suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders that must also be addressed in treatment. Common treatments found in jails and prisons include 12-Step programs, group counseling, and drug and alcohol education. While these programs can be a great start to recovery, it is critical that individuals with a history of substance abuse seek continuing care for their addiction and mental health after they are released.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.