Drug addiction, such a heroin addiction, is a big problem in Maryland and throughout the nation. People who are addicted to drugs are oftentimes accused of committing drug offenses. However, what they really need is help getting and staying sober, something that may not be available to them should they be sent to jail. Therefore, for some, drug courts may be a more beneficial option.
Some counties in Maryland have established drug courts with the purpose of providing drug addicts with the treatment they need to become sober, rather than incarcerating them for drug crimes. These courts may be especially important given the increase of opioid addiction in the state. According to one source, six individuals in the state lose their life every day due to an opioid overdose.
According to one prosecutor, drug courts lower the possibility of recidivism and can ultimately save a person's life. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals also reports that across the United States almost three-quarters of those who complete a drug court treatment program do not commit further drug crimes.
Moreover, drug courts can save money. For example, according to one prosecutor in Anne Arundel county, the cost for a person to complete a drug court treatment program amounted to about one-tenth of the cost that would have been incurred if the person was incarcerated instead.
As this shows, alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts benefit not only individuals addicted to drugs, but also the state as a whole. Those who are facing drug charges may want to seek legal help to determine which defense option best suits their needs and desires, whether that is pursuing drug court or taking a matter to trial to seek an acquittal..
Source: WAMU, "Maryland Turns To Drug Courts In Battle Against Opioid Addiction," Patrick Madden, May 16, 2017