Substance Abuse And Prisons Essay

1115 words - 4 pages

Substance abuse is a national problem. Prisons are overcrowded with these types of offenders. People will do anything to get these drugs ranging from petty theft to murder. People with substance abuse problems know no boundaries. All they think about is how they are going to get that drug for that day. Substance abusers do not care who they hurt or why they hurt them. A lot of people that are addicted hurt the people they love the most like children and parents. People in the prison system that has been convicted of violent crimes most of them say that they were under the influence of some type of drug or alcohol.
Putting these types of individuals in prison is a problem. They are put in there to get rehabilitated and help with their drug problem. The states and United States government contribute billions of dollars to prisons; where, the majority of offenders are substance abusers. However, are they really getting the help they need?
Here is a little history on drug abuse. According to David Musto (1987) drug abuse has been around for approximately 100 years. Christian organizations had a meeting with congress and made a claim that drug abusers were hazardous, wicked individuals. These groups thought that the drug use among foreign individuals like the Chinamen and corrupt Mexicans were a threat for the American born individuals. These groups convinced Congress to criminalize drugs.
One-hundred years ago some drugs was legal to possess and even children could buy drugs like morphine, opium, marijuana, and cocaine. These drugs if got caught with them today could result in a life sentence it today’s society. 1914 was a change for these drugs it was like overnight these drugs become illegal. The reason for this change in 1914 was because of all the crime associated with these drugs. The group that passed these laws turned hundreds and thousands respectable citizens’ criminals.
I have a close relationship with this topic. I am a recovering addict and have been to prison. When judges send these individuals to prison they are really shunned by society. That felony conviction really hurts their chances in society. Their lives are never the same. They have a hard time getting a job and a lot of opportunities are taken away from them.
I think that people with substance abuse problems need to be sent to treatment instead of prison. Like I said earlier substance abuse is a disease and needs to be treated. There are other factors like poverty and homelessness to cause people to start abusing drugs. Prison is costly and treatment would be cheaper than just sending them to prison. Putting substance abusers in treatment would help society and make the country a better place to live. Prisons are overcrowded. Treatment would alleviate some of this overcrowding. Prison treatments are just not doing the job as far as rehabilitating the substance abuser.
Substance abuse is related to child abuse and elder abuse. Prisons have several programs that...

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