Not everyone who attends rehab for an addiction is doing so voluntarily because they have made a decision to quit. Many people end up quitting drugs as a result of legally mandated treatment ordered by the criminal justice system. Even though it may not be the individual’s personal choice to receive treatment, these kinds of treatment programs can still be very effective at facilitating long-term sobriety.
Drug offenders are often pressured by the court to participate in drug abuse treatment as a way to help rehabilitate them and reduce the population in already over-crowded prisons. Instead of facing jail time, someone who has broken the law with a drug related crime can go to treatment and learn how to manage their addiction. Surprisingly, these types of court ordered treatment situations have success rates that are as good or better than those that lack any kind of legal pressure.
Being ordered to attend rehab depends on the crime and whether the judge and prosecution believes the person will benefit from treatment. Court ordered rehabilitation is mandatory which means that the offender has no other option but to enter a rehab program. Most often, the offender was under the influence of an illicit substance when they committed their crime and the nature of the crime is not severe enough to merit jail time.
People who commit minor crimes while under the influence of drugs might do so because their drug use has impaired their judgement. They also might be stealing or getting involved in some other illegal activity simply to fuel their addiction. In these cases, court ordered drug treatment is a good solution as their criminal behavior is only a result of their substance abuse.
The Effectiveness of Mandatory Rehab
One might assume that because the person is forcibly placed in rehab, that court ordered treatment will have no effect on their recovery. The reality is that many people benefit greatly from attending rehab in this situation. They might face more challenges and risks for relapse when they leave treatment, but it is possible to stay sober long-term following mandatory rehab.
Research has shown that no matter what the circumstances of a person entering rehab, the treatment program itself has the positive potential for success. A study following a group of men who attended rehab either voluntarily or through a court order found that they had similar success rates after five years of living sober. Both groups of men were less likely to relapse and had high sustained abstinence rates.
There are many different reasons why mandatory treatment is still effective for addicts. Most people attend treatment voluntarily do so after they have hit “rock bottom” or have faced some difficult consequence of their addiction. A person who faces potential jail time is dealing with some serious consequences, and might realize that their addiction is what put them into this situation.
People who attend rehab voluntarily are sometimes confronted by people in their lives through an intervention. In this situation they are told that their addiction has become out of hand and that they need to attend treatment. Court ordered treatment is another case in which the individual is told that they would benefit from rehab because their addiction has become harmful to themselves and others.
Mostly, the effectiveness of mandatory rehab is due to the fact that treatment centers can help provide people with the motivation they need to quit. Even if someone did not have enough internal motivation to check themselves into a treatment center, their rehab program can help foster the desire to be sober. Being around people that want to make positive changes can be inspiring and change a person’s mind about their drug use.
Mandatory treatment can be very effective, but patients must be especially careful to avoid relapse as they often face unique challenges after returning home. People who have committed crimes due to their addiction might have a number of other problems to deal with such as educational and employment issues, mental health problems or financial difficulties. It is important for people to continue receiving support following their court ordered treatment.
Returning home can mean facing triggers and people from the past who may still be involved in drugs or crime. In order to avoid the temptation to return to a criminal lifestyle, the individual must be careful to stay in contact with other sober people from their rehab program or twelve step group. If the rehab center offers an aftercare program then this can be very helpful in preventing relapse.
Anyone charged with a drug related crime will benefit greatly from attending a treatment program as an alternative. Rehab is an inherently positive experience no matter what kind of circumstances led you there.