Author: Kevin P Daly, MD, Staff, Emergency Dept., California Emergency Physicians.
Coauthor(s): John Richards, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, University of California at Davis Medical Center.
Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor III, MD, Vice-Chief, Compliance Officer, Attending Physician Emergency Medicine Residency, Department of Emergency Medicine, Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital, University of South Carolina.
Scientific research since the mid-1970s shows that drug abuse treatment can help many drug-using offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards drug abuse; avoid relapse; and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance abuse and crime. Many of the principles of treating drug addiction are similar for people within the criminal justice system as for those in the general population. However, many offenders don’t have access to the types of services they need. Treatment that is of poor quality or is not well suited to the needs of offenders may not be effective at reducing drug use and criminal behavior.
More than 23 million people in the . age 12 or over need treatment for substance abuse. Unfortunately, only about 10% of this population receives treatment. About 30% of people in substance-abuse treatment facilities are under the age of 30. Successful treatment for addiction often includes a combination of behavioral and pharmacological interventions. Treatment works best when tailored to the individual's unique substance problem and situation. Detoxification ("detox") is the first step in addiction treatment. Certain medications may be used to ease the process and reduce withdrawal symptoms.