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Substance abuse treatment is a good alternative to prison

When a person is accused and convicted of drug crimes, one of the main penalties used in the U.S. court system is time in prison. Many people believe that there are better alternatives to placing those who abuse or use drugs into prison. Instead, these individuals may benefit from substance abuse counseling and alternative solutions.

If your child is in the juvenile system because of drug abuse, you likely just want to see him or her get well and understand the risks of drug abuse. As a parent, it's hard to see your child go down that road of drug abuse and addiction.

One good alternative to jail or prison if your child is convicted of drug use, sales or distribution, is substance abuse treatment. Substance abuse treatment programs, especially inpatient programs, work similarly to prisons in that the patients may not leave without permission from the courts or their guardians if they are underage. During the stay at a substance abuse treatment facility, your child learns new techniques to handle stress and other behaviors that previously led him or her to drugs.

Why seek out addiction treatment instead of a prison sentence?

Addictions cause criminal behaviors. Substance abuse directly affects a person's ability to make sound decisions. That means that a normally well-behaved teen may begin taking risks that he or she knows are dangerous or illegal just to get a high. Those actions can lead to a prison sentence.

Prison can be a dangerous alternative to substance abuse treatment, since inmates are forced into sobriety but have no alternative means of handling their emotions. Once released, they may just turn back to their old behaviors.

If substance abuse treatment is the right decision for your child, you can ask the court for an alternative to prison in the form of a treatment program. The goal is to help your child become a healthy, productive individual, and the right substance abuse program can help.

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