Addiction and drug crimes often go hand in hand. The disease of addiction can be incredibly hard to break without professional medical assistance.
Treatment, some argue, can solve a lot of the drug crime issues in the United States more effectively than other methods of punishment. If someone has to pay a fine or even spend time behind bars, they may get out and still be addicted to the substance that got them in trouble with the law. When they get arrested again, it’s not because they didn’t learn, but because they’re still sick. No one treated the addiction.
To understand how common this is, here are the ten substances in the U.S. that lead to the highest levels of addiction:
- Nicotine and tobacco: more than 40 million people
- Alcohol: approximately 18 million people
- Marijuana: approximately 4.2 million people
- Painkillers and opiates: approximately 1.8 million people
- Cocaine: approximately 821,000 people
- Heroin: approximately 426,000 people
- Benzodiazepines: Approximately 400,000 people
- Stimulants: Approximately 329,000 people
- Inhalants: Approximately 140,000 people
- Barbiturates and sedatives: Approximately 78,000 people
It is worth noting that many of these have legal uses. Alcohol and tobacco, of course, are legal at ages 21 and 18, respectively. Marijuana is legal in small amounts. Opiates and other drugs are legal with a prescription from a doctor.
That does not mean that people cannot get addicted. Legal use often leads to abuse and related issues, which in turn put people on the wrong side of the law. It is important for those facing criminal charges to know what defense options they have.