Substance abuse and the courts

by Mick Spencer - Date: 2007-05-06 - Word Count: 417 Share This!

Everyone who cares knows that abuse of alcohol and other drugs is a social evil of immense proportions. Its victims include the abusers themselves, their families and countless others.

Substance abuse is a major factor in most criminal cases that reach our courts. It is a significant factor, too in a high percentage of juvenile proceedings, divorce and child-custody disputes.

Problems caused by substance abuse threaten to overwhelm not only the courts but also society itself. As difficult as it is to find the resources for an all-out effort to turn the tide, we must do it. We cannot afford not to.

The role of the courts in ending substance abuse is particularly effective when judges, probation officers and counsel are well-informed about drug abuse and it's implications: about how to discover when abuse has been a factor in the events leading up to a particular court case and about the social services, treatment providers and other resources available in the community, that can be offered as an alternative to traditional forms of punishment or denial of privileges.

Those that work with individuals afflicted with substance addiction can and will have positive results for the individuals directly involved and for society.

I am confident that such cooperative efforts have the potential to redirect the lives of such troubled and unproductive people toward self-esteem, productivity and no further involvement with the courts. That is the mission of the Supreme Judicial Court's Substance Abuse Project - to develop a coordinated, system-wide approach to the problems of substance abuse and to establish a working link between the courts and available community services.

No program can expect to be 100 percent successful, but it is clear from the experience of courts in certain states that, if given the opportunity, judges and other court personnel working with professionals in the community can reduce the impact of substance and drug abuse on afflicted individuals and their victims, and on the courts as well.

Of course, the traditional and first role of the courts is to arbitrate and resolve disputes. The attention of the courts to law enforcement and to public safety is critical, and must not be compromised.

State tax dollars can be saved by a program that would reduce repetitive anti-social behavior, repetitive court proceedings and repetitive incarceration. The courts' use of their unique power to persuade individuals appearing before them to choose the positive benefits of substance abuse treatment and intensive monitoring over mere punishment would be financially, as well as humanely correct.

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Mike Spencer has been helping people protect their health for many years. For more information relating to drug and substance abuse support visit Mike's site at Substance Abuse Support.You may also be interested in the various detox programs available - more information is available at Healthy Detox Tips. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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