You might subscribe to the theory of “tough love” when it comes to a family member who suffers from an addiction to drugs. Allowing that person to spend time in jail or prison might seem as though you are teaching him or her a lesson, but in reality, it does nothing to deal with the debilitating disease of drug addiction. What started out as a choice quickly becomes a downward spiral from which your loved one might not see a way back.
Is it possible to get a loved one off drugs?
Yes, but it takes commitment from both you and your family member. Most drug addicts can get through the detoxification phase, which generally lasts only a few days. The real work begins after that. Remaining drug free over the long-term presents the bigger challenge to many people who suffer from this addiction.
What does treatment involve?
Numerous programs for treatment exist. Since everyone has different needs, it’s essential to choose the right program. Even so, many programs contain similar elements, including the following:
- A detoxification (withdrawal) program
- A mental health evaluation
- A mental health treatment program (if needed)
- Behavioral counseling
- Follow-up care to prevent relapse
The professionals involved in your loved one’s treatment might also prescribe medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms, help with mental health issues (such as anxiety or depression) and to decrease the likelihood of a relapse. Treatment options include inpatient and outpatient programs that might include family members at some point.
Is treatment an alternative to going to jail?
If your loved one qualifies, Washington uses therapeutic courts to help rehabilitate people addicted to drugs. Teaching new coping skills, better life skills and ways to change their attitude about drugs often changes the course of a drug addict’s life. Other elements could be added to the treatment program in order to help your family member re-enter society and remain drug free.
You probably need legal assistance
In order to keep your loved one off the traditional criminal justice path, you would more than likely benefit from involving an attorney who understands the challenges your loved one faces. He or she should provide you and your family member with an understanding of the legal options, the qualifications for diversion into treatment and other issues.
Drug addiction is a sickness that requires compassion, care and the right help. Enlisting the aid of an advocate who understands these needs could make the difference between your loved one remaining in the criminal justice system or kicking the habit and getting his or her life back on track.