Substance Abusing Offenders

Substance abusing offenders are tThose who are involved in who use of any mood-altering substance that alters the moodare called substance abusing offenders. The stage at which this habit becomes an addiction and starts interfering with normal life qualifies to be called an illness  Addiction to these mood altering substances becomes an illness when this habit starts to interfere with normal life (Buddy, 2006).. Drug is one of the most expensive health problems of the world. as the cost is not only in terms of It costs extensively in terms of money as well as but also in terms of numerous damaged lives. People addicted with drugDrug addicts are not able to have a normal life thereby causing problems in the family, the workplace, and the community. It is important thus to treat this addiction as illness, however, it must be noted that Thus, the aim of any drug treatment must be to stop the individual from using drugs and have a drug-free lifestyle in future. This is an uphill task given the chances that an individual may relapse into recidivism. drug treatment is different from other treatments since it not only intends to stop the person from using them currently, its aim is to ensure the person treated does not relapse into the addiction after the treatment is over. Thus, efficiency of drug abuse addiction treatment program depends upon its ability to incorporate various aspects of the illness and correctional measures as well as means to ensure ongoing effectiveness long after the treatment is over. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), USA was formed to deal with treatment and medications of drug addiction (NIDA InfoFacts, 2006). The principles on which this drug treatment program is established are described below and they are quite effective in fighting drug abuse.

Principles of Drug Treatment

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It operates its effective treatment of drug abuse on the following 13 principles for offenders (NIDA, 2006):

1.      Drug addiction affects behavior.

2.      Recovery from drug addiction is a combination of effective treatment and management that could include behavioral approaches, medications, or both.

3.      Stable behavioral changes occur through long lasting treatments.

4.      The first step in treatment is assessment.

5.      Effective drug abuse treatment for criminal justice populations relies on identifying individual needs.

6.      Careful monitoring of the drug use during treatment.

7.      Treatment should target factors associated with criminal behavior.

8.      Treatment providers to be aware of correctional supervision requirements.

9.      Continuity of care.

10.  A balance of rewards and sanctions to encourage treatment participation.

11.  Integrated treatment approach for offenders with drug abuse and mental health problems.

12.  Medications.

13.  Treatment planning including strategies to prevent and treat serious, chronic medical conditions.


As seen from the principles that have been listed above, drug abuse treatment does not involve just medicinal treatment, but strict community policing, continuity in care, integration of correctional requirements, etc. The treatment can blend with the criminal justice settings like treatment as a condition of probation and treatment in prison followed by community-based treatment after discharge. Follow-up is the most important component of any treatment plan for substance abusers. Unless ongoing care and policing is provided relapse is the most likely occurrence. The abuser needs to be treated more as a patient than as an offender in order to provide the psychological support required to successfully get treated. Government has launched programs such as “The Tackling Drug Addiction” with aim to make the treatment and correctional measures available to wider section of people and the treatment offered through such programs have been positive and cost effective. Various research reports have clearly highlighted a reduction in alcohol and drug use (52% and 69%, respectively) one year after treatment. (NIDA Infofacts, 2006). There are clear indications that the correctional measures that are adopted by the government to treat substance abuse have been effective. Farabee, Shen, Hser, Grella, and Anglin (2001) reported that post-treatment, young offenders were less likely to commit crimes. This proves the effectiveness of the measures adopted by correctional systems. Retention and treatment of drug offenders through coercion, longer treatment with follow-up, individual assessment and careful monitoring, etc. have helped to reduce substance abuse offenders.
Buddy, T. (2003). Are You Addicted? Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Retrieved June 8, 2007, from
Farabee, D., Shen, H., Hser, Y., Grella, C. E., & Anglin, M. D. (2001). The effect of drug treatment on criminal behavior among adolescents in DATOS-A. Journal of Adolescent Research, 16(6), 679-696.
NIDA InfoFacts. (2006). Treatment for drug abusers in the criminal justice system. Retrieved May 27, 2007, from