Often, when someone is arrested on drug charges, they face jail time and significant fines. The idea behind these penalties is that people who are tempted to use drugs will not do so because the penalties act as a deterrent.
When they choose to anyway and get arrested, the hope is that serving a sentence will convince them not to be repeat offenders. But does this really make sense? Is it actually the best way to address these situations?
The role of drug addiction in criminal cases
The problem is that many people who commit drug crimes have no desire to be criminals and wish they weren’t breaking the law. They’re just dependent on those drugs. Maybe they got addicted to legal opioids after a medical procedure, for instance, or maybe they started using drugs when they were young and now they can’t shake the habit.
It can be argued that treating drug crimes the same way that we treat violent crimes or property crimes doesn’t make sense. What often would keep people from offending or reoffending isn’t jail time, but rehab and medical treatment. If they can break their dependency, then they won’t return to the illegal behavior. If they just have to pay a fine or serve time without getting treatment for their addiction, they’ll likely use again when they get out.
This is why it’s so important to consider drug courts, rehab programs and all of the options you may have when accused of drug-related crimes. Texas does have drug court programs you may be eligible for.