Medicineworld.org: Save Money And Reduce Crime
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Save Money And Reduce Crime
"This report is part of our ongoing commitment to using scientific research to provide solutions to some of the most complex public health and safety issues of our time," said Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, NIH Director. "Not only does it offer research-based therapy solutions to judges and communities, it also provides information on how the criminal justice system can help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases among drug abusing offenders--all critically important issues in today's society".
Untreated substance abuse adds significant costs to communities, including violent and property crimes, prison expenses, court and criminal costs, emergency room visits, child abuse and neglect, lost child support, foster care and welfare costs, reduced productivity, unemployment, and victimization. The cost to society of drug abuse in the year 2002 was $181 billion--$107 billion linked to drug-related crime.
"We know what works to treat addiction, based on our scientific knowledge of the cognitive, behavioral, and physiological characteristics of addicts," said Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director. "The principles of drug abuse therapy that we are releasing today represent the translation of research into practice. They are powerful and practical tools that will allow communities to choose between ongoing therapy or ongoing crime." .
Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations offers 13 principles based on a review of the scientific literature on drug abuse therapy and criminal behavior. The principles include an acknowledgement that drug addiction is a brain disease that affects behavior; that recovery requires effective individualized therapy that might include medication; and that continuity of care is essential for drug abusers re-entering the community after a period of incarceration.
"Detox alone in jail or prison is not therapy," said Dr. Volkow. "Without proven therapy and therapeutic followup in a community setting, addicted offenders are at a high risk of relapse despite a long period of forced sobriety," she added. "These principles also apply to court-mandated therapy interventions that replace incarceration with community programs".
It is estimated that 70 percent of individuals in state prisons and local jails have abused drugs regularly, compared with approximately 9 percent of the general population. Studies show that therapy cuts drug abuse in half, reduces criminal activity up to 80 percent, and reduces arrests up to 64 percent. However, fewer than one-fifth of these offenders receive therapy. Treatment not only lowers recidivism rates, it is also cost-effective. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on addiction therapy programs, there is a $4 to $7 reduction in the cost of drug-related crimes. With some outpatient programs, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1.
The failure to treat addicts in the criminal justice system contributes to a continuous cycle of substance abuse and crime. In 1999, 1.5 million minor children--most under the age of 10--had a parent in prison. Fifty-eight percent of these imprisoned parents used drugs in the month before their offense. Children of addicted parents are four times more likely to become addicted if they choose to use drugs or alcohol, and a number of will also enter the criminal justice system.
The NIDA report was released recently by Dr. Volkow at an event in Chicago that highlighted innovative substance abuse programs underway in the Cook County criminal justice system. These programs include a NIDA-sponsored project that trains judges about the neuroscience of addiction and therapy so they can be better prepared to place addicted defendants in adequate therapy environments. Dr. Volkow was joined by the Honorable Richard M. Daley, Mayor, City of Chicago, and the Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, who have supported therapy programs for drug abusing offenders. Also attending was Melody M. Heaps, President of TASC, Inc. (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities), a not-for-profit organization that provides therapy management programs and services. Ms. Heaps introduced several former drug abusers with previous involvement in the criminal justice system whose lives have dramatically changed because of adequate therapy programs.
In addition to outlining therapy principles for criminal justice populations, NIDA's publication includes answers to frequently asked questions about addiction as a chronic disease, co-occurring mental, emotional and environmental conditions that make relapse likely upon return to society, recommendations for the components of adequate therapy programs, cost-effectiveness of therapy, and the role of medicine in treating offenders with substance abuse.
Posted by: JoAnn Source
Did you know?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, today released a landmark scientific report showing that effective therapy of drug abuse and addiction can save communities money and reduce crime. Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations outlines some of the proven components for successful therapy of drug abusers who have entered the criminal justice system, leading to lower rates of drug abuse and criminal activity.
Medicineworld.org: Save Money And Reduce Crime
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