By now almost everyone has heard of the War on Drugs. The war on heroin is just an extension of the war on drugs. You might even be a victim of that war. The standard for someone caught with heroin now is to arrest him or her and throw him or her into jail where they sit and possibly remain addicted to opiates. This creates a never ending cycle of use, arrest, continued use, and re-arrest. It is unfortunate that with many, this cycle only ends in overdose and death. There is a better way.
What is the Problem
The problem with the current war on drugs seems to be that it simply starts a cycle. Even though a few nonviolent addicted prisoners do find their way off drugs during their prison sentence, many of them do not. They return to their habits almost as soon as they are released. This is not to say that violent offenders or those that have committed crimes should not be arrested. This is not saying that the criminal justice system is wrong. Unfortunately, the wide spread nature of heroin crimes is difficult to define and correct but there is a way to help those who are not in the prison system or who have left the prison system.
How to Win the War
Although you can sit and discuss the politics of the way that government and corrections system handles victims of heroin addiction, it is best just to look at the ways that the addiction can actually be stopped. That is through treatment. If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin, a good treatment program can correct the problem without arrest or prison. It is important to catch the addiction before it gets to the point of arrest.
There are several ways to do this:
- Inpatient treatment programs – in some ways inpatient treatment is much like incarceration. You stay at the treatment facility 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This helps you by decreasing the temptation of having access to heroin. One of the ways that inpatient treatment is different from incarceration is that you receive treatment while you are there. There are counselors, doctors, and medications that can help you through the worst parts of withdrawal.
- Outpatient treatment programs – outpatient treatment is a more relaxed form of addiction treatment. If you have a job or have to take care of family, outpatient might be optimal for you. Outpatient treatment ranges from intensive all the way to once per week or twice a week meetings.
These are only two of the most common solutions to the war on heroin addiction. Scientists and doctors alike understand that addiction is a disease and the only answer to disease is treatment. By treating those who have a problem with an addiction, you can begin to end the addiction crisis that is being felt around throughout the United States. Isn’t it time to treat the disease?