There have been numerous efforts over the years to address the widespread problem that is addiction and figure out how to deal with drug addicts. Many substances have become more potent and prominent, which has contributed to rising numbers of addictions around the nation. The efforts to address this issue have been quite hit or miss. For a number of years, the largest solution was punishment and condemnation of those struggling with addiction, which has shown to be extremely unsuccessful. On the bright side, the public and powers that be have realized the shortcomings of that solution and a huge shift has begun toward better efforts to address the issue.

 

As mentioned above, we had previously been focusing upon punishment of those struggling with addiction. This was evident in the harsh and excessive sentences that individuals were receiving in regard to drug use and possession. Of course, certain cases of this are understandable, like those that were running large drug selling operations. But, for those that were simply holding or using drugs for themselves, these sentences really did more harm than benefit. This was especially the case being that many of them were not receiving any sort of treatment during their time either. This simply resulted in massive numbers of people getting out of jail or prison and going quickly back to using.

 

There were also the methods of shaming and harsh confrontation for the purpose of breaking the addict down in attempts to get them to discontinue their behavior. This was often masked under the title “tough love,” but it was nothing of the sort. Methods like this can realistically cause adverse reactions, as the individual may simply rebel by using to prove others wrong or make themselves feel better about the shame. Breaking someone down like this really only drags them down to a lower and lower point.

 

How to Deal With Drug Addicts

 

So, this arises a good question, how do we figure out how to deal with drug addicts without the above tactics? Well, a little compassion can go a long way. These individuals need our help, not our hatred or disdain. They are stuck in a place that they are often unable to get themselves out of, and it is a danger to the health of our nation. We have people dying left and right from overdoses and drug related circumstances everyday. It is time the issue is approached from another direction. Some states understand that these people need help rather than punishment, which has led to new laws and regulations being put into place around the nation. Some states are starting by decriminalizing some drugs, whereas other states have taken action by getting overdose victims into treatment. Whatever the case may be, these kinds of measures are what is going to allow us to begin handling the issue, not criminal charges and punishment leveled against those struggling. The past methods have displayed their failure, and that should be proof enough to try something new.

 

Some may argue that compassion and help simply enables these individuals to continue their behavior, as they have no consequences for what they are doing. Well, let’s look at this realistically. Yes, there is typically some degree of choice in using substances, but addiction can also eventually consume a person’s life. In fact, a large part of these individual’s criminal behavior is fueled by the goal to obtain their substance of choice. Of course, this is not meant to justify that behavior whatsoever, but rather undercut the situation. As opposed to targeting the criminal acts, we can target the addiction and help the person to overcome this so that the criminal behavior is not even necessary. Plus, compassion and help are completely different from enabling and complacency.

 

 

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