Coerce or convince into treatment
Legal Coercion may help steer some problem drug users toward treatment. Legal coercion, for other problem drug users, who have a more severe drug problem and or other problems may actually be steered away from drug treatment by coercion(1 ).
Consider mental health courts like drug courts are set up to steer people into treatment instead of jail. A staff attorney for the Washington-based Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law observed about mental health court system, "Despite good intentions, the mental health courts don't address the root problem, which is getting services to people before crisis hits," and concluded "You shouldn't have to wait until you wind up in court to get those services." (2 ) This would also be a valid point for drug courts.
We must set our policies with accurate information. Two myths we have about drug abuse are:
"Bottoming out"is often seen as the only way someone will quit drug use. Opiate addicts also cited these other reasons they quit opiate use.
Investigators said after they review research on reformed drug addicts "Some of the evidence even suggests that untreated addicts may have as good or possibly even a better chance at breaking the bond of addiction than the treated heroin user"(4 ).
A study of non-chronically dependent opium users found. 1/3 had been in a state of drift and needed no regulation of use, over a quarter had experienced episodes of dependence, the rest governed the use to prevent loss of control(5 ).
"Chippers" develop and internalize social rituals around occasional use either individually or through their using group " to avoid addiction(6 ). Of opiate users who had controlled use (for at least a year) most only experience deviant behavior was their drug use. Controlled users set up rules for their drug use in order to prevent addiction(7 ).
Setting of Vietnam encouraged temporary addiction. 80% of Heroin users quit before they left Vietnam. This lead researchers to say "It is possible that this pattern of temporary addiction with recovery to abstention or casual use may also be common in civilian addicts who have not come to official attention."(8 ).