When people face legal charges, the general public often assumes that they chose to do whatever it is they are accused of doing. Someone who gets arrested for using heroin, for instance, appears from the outside to simply be a person who chose to use an illegal drug and who is now facing the ramifications of that choice.
However, anyone who has actual experience with this situation knows that choice often has little to do with it. Much of the time, the real issue is drug addiction.
What creates drug addiction?
More than just drug use goes into addiction. It can also be influenced by:
- A person’s genetic makeup
- Trauma that person has suffered
- The environment in which the person lives
- The onset of mental health disorders
- Experiencing a chaotic home life
- Seeing others use and abuse the same drugs
- Drug use by parents
- The attitude the local community has toward drug use
- The influence of the person’s peers
- A history of struggling academically
Addiction is largely out of a person’s control. If they live in an area with rampant drug use and have a genetic predisposition toward addictive behavior, they could get hooked on a substance and feel like they have no way to get off of it. They’re not making a decision, at that point. It’s important to recognize addiction as a real illness that can guide a person’s actions.
What options do you have?
In that light, it’s also important to ask what the potential ramifications are going to accomplish. Is putting someone in jail going to help them overcome an addiction? It cuts them off from the substance for a time, but it doesn’t address the disease itself or the factors that led to it. This is why many people get out and go right back to the same habits as before.
Those who are facing charges, then, need to know as much as they can about their options. There are cases where things like rehab and drug abuse treatment could be vastly more beneficial than jail time and fines.