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Drug court: Can it help?

When addiction takes over, people often find themselves in situations they never could have imagined. Suddenly, the once bright, young person with their whole life ahead of them is now behaving in ways they never thought possible. 

It is not uncommon for addicts to break the law. Maybe it's shoplifting? Or getting caught with a small amount of drugs? Or maybe it's just being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Any of these situations can lead to an arrest and criminal charges. 

Is jail the answer?

Low-level non-violent crimes continuously clog the criminal justice system in Maryland. Not only that, but putting the same person behind bars for these minor offenses does not help anyone. Jail is not rehab and getting locked up does not treat the underlying issue of addiction. Without proper treatment, many will go on to break the law again and wind up in the exact same situation. 

This is where drug court can step in. Instead of putting someone behind bars, court teams -- which can include prosecutors, attorneys and substance abuse treatment professionals -- to name only a few -- all work together toward the common goal of treating addiction.

For the person in drug court, this typically involves:

  • Constant monitoring
  • Random drug screenings
  • Therapy

Full completion of the program is necessary. Failure to fully complete the program will result in a case being sent back to the court system, which can lead to incarceration.

Qualifying for drug court

Drug court is for people facing non-violent offenses where it's believed addiction is the root cause. Adults and juveniles both can benefit from drug court. 

Unfortunately, not everyone views addiction the same and sometimes the court may not realize the real issue at hand. This is why it is important to be open and honest with an attorney if addiction is a concern. This attorney can then make recommendations to the court that will actually help get a person's life back on track. 

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