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With heroin being the most concerning substance due to what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has referred to as a “heroin epidemic,” individuals who commit crimes for reasons related to their heroin addictions stand to benefit the most from strategies that involve addressing addiction rather than punishing for it.
In particular, the state of North Carolina has begun to implement as a strategy that gives addicted offenders a better chance of becoming sober. Therefore, the following will describe the escalation of the heroin problem in North Carolina before explaining how the state is implementing an alternative to imprisonment for addicted offenders and detailing how North Carolina drug rehabs work.
Heroin Becomes a More Pressing Issue in North Carolina
Like virtually everywhere else in the U.S., the state of North Carolina has seen a steady increase in rates of heroin addiction throughout the state.
Although some of the more rural and suburban areas were hold-outs that weren’t affected by the heroin epidemic until recently, the number of heroin overdoses occurring in North Carolina—reported by hospital emergency rooms and law enforcement—has recently begun to climb at an alarmingly high rate and is illustrated by the figures recorded at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, which isn’t even one of the state’s most populated areas.
In 2010, the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center was experiencing a single heroin overdose per year, which increased to 13 by 2012 and reached 96 from January to October of 2015.
North Carolina Implementing Drug Courts for Addicted Offenders
The number of addicts who will commit a crime at some point over the course of their addictions represents the majority of addicts and is why there so many criminal offenders who are also addicts. Until drug courts had been conceptualized, these individuals had only one option, which was to hope that the jail or prison to which they were sent offered some level of treatment or recovery services.
Drug courts essentially involve the offender being given the choice between two options: complete a prison sentence or a drug treatment program. In areas within New Hanover County that have been hit hard by the heroin epidemic only relatively recently, drug courts offer renewed hope that the entire community won’t fall victim to crimes committed by addicted offenders whose underlying problems aren’t being sufficiently addressed.
Implementing drug courts in New Hanover County, NC, isn’t exactly a brand new idea; however, in 2011 efforts to bring drug court to the county very nearly founded due to being unable to raise the funding necessary to begin implementing drug court after federal funding was cut.
Nearing the end of the two-year period the initiative was given to obtain funding, it was becoming clear that New Hanover County wasn’t going to be getting drug courts, but generous donations from the Department of Social Services and the Southeastern Center for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services provided the necessary funding to begin offering drug court to addicted offenders.
North Carolina Drug Rehab for Offenders Who Go through Drug Court
When an offender goes to drug court and chooses rehab over a prison sentence, he or she is typically required to complete a program that meets certain requirements. First, these individuals must complete no less than a one-year inpatient program in which an individual is completely substance free for a minimum of six months, monitored via regular, random drug screens.
Moreover, the individual must meet all curfews and rules instituted by the treatment facility, participate in any therapies or medicinal treatments that are recommended as part of treatment, and attend meetings for some type of support or twelve-step group. Due to the comprehensive nature of these requirements, the graduation rate for programs that meet court requirements is between 30 and 40 percent.
Want to Go to a North Carolina Drug Rehab? Call Us Now
Addiction is a potentially deadly disease that causes profound physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual deterioration. It has ruined careers, destroyed families, and friendships, caused irreparable or incurable health problems, even affecting society at a macro level.
However, nobody has to continue living in the throes of active addiction. If you or someone you love would benefit from a free consultation, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at 855-619-8070. Our team of recovery specialists are available day or night to help you or someone you love takes the first steps toward lasting health and wellness.