Sadly, many addicts and alcoholics end up behind bars as a result of their substance use. While most people recognize addiction as a disease, this doesn’t change the fact that there are many laws against drug possession and use. Fortunately, the tide may be turning. Several states are launching addiction amnesty programs to fight the drug epidemic, and Massachusettes and Florida seem to be following suit.
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What Are Addiction Amnesty Programs
The new program gives citizens the ability to turn in controlled substances anonymously without fear of prosecution. Law enforcement agencies hope to destroy illicit substances safely. Various states and police offices are urging their citizens to spread the word about the new program. Officials are hoping to help more people receive the addiction treatment they need.
Through the program, police stations won’t take any personal information. Anyone can walk in with or without possession of a controlled substance. The individual can voluntarily seek drug addiction treatment instead of being arrested. Individuals transition to a medical facility straight from the police station.
Law enforcement believes helping individuals obtain treatment will reduce the opioid epidemic and other substance abuse struggles within their communities.
How Some States Are Employing Addiction Amnesty Programs
Several years ago, a few states made headlines for creating new, innovative programs to combat the opioid crisis. States like Massachusetts and New Jersey struck by addiction and overdose rates, mostly driven by opiates like painkillers and heroin.
In several counties in these states, sheriffs decided to try a compassionate treatment approach instead of arrest. For example, several townships in New Jersey offered addicts free treatment, with no threat of arrest, if they showed up to the local police department and asked for help. In some counties, you can even turn in drugs, avoid arrest, and go straight to a state-funded detox bed.
Many of these counties and states found success in offering amnesty instead of arrest. In more positive news, it looks like some areas of Florida are taking this approach.
Florida Joins the Drug Amnesty Program
In Hillsborough County, addicts have the option of turning in drugs without facing arrest. After turning in the drugs, citizens get free transportation from the sheriff’s department to a local detox or treatment center. The police department made it clear that no one who seeks treatment will face charges for any substances they turn in.
Other towns who are trying out this new method include Ocala, where the program has been so successful it’s receiving state funding.
These approaches may be a sign that the tide is turning on addiction in the United States. As more states and counties replace jail with treatment, we may have a chance at significantly reducing the rate of addiction and overdose deaths in our nation.
Finding Treatment After Amnesty
Asking for help is the first step in recovery. It’s a courageous decision whether it’s through the police station or the family dinner table. But what happens next?
Finding the right treatment center is the next crucial step towards recovery. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe that addicts and alcoholics deserve compassionate, quality care. That’s why the core of our clinical approach is evidence-based therapy combined with holistic care. This approach includes family therapy, individualized treatment plans, dual diagnosis care, and so much more.
If you have decided that it’s time to get help and looking for a personalized, comprehensive approach, call us today for more information regarding quality drug rehab treatment.