Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Addiction Is An Illness Not A Crime

Lou, forwarded me a petition and ask me to post this on my blog. It is a mother's initiative in Indiana to force mandatory treatment on addicts. I know mandatory treatment may not be the end all of addiction but it can force an addict to look at themselves. I believe each step towards sobriety builds upon the last. Sometimes it takes many steps. Please review this material and if you find it useful please sign the petition, I have.

Since I no longer blog, I was wondering if you might pass this along in your blog.

I have just read and signed the petition: "The Jennifer Act - Involuntary Drug Treatment". A mother who lost her daughter to addiction has almost single-handily taken this cause on. You can read her
story. I personally feel any period of sobriety, forced or otherwise, is a step toward permanent recovery. I had never heard of this law until I stumbled onto her blog. As a parent of an adult addict, I want to help her get the word out.

Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 5000 signatures - please sign here:

Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well.

Thank you! Lou

Interesting article worth reading in The Star concerning probabtion and the liklihood of repeat offenders and how low risk offenders hould be dealt with in the system. http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/06/2502754/to-gauge-offenders-parole-kansas.html


Michelle said...

I agree that addiction is an illness not a crime, but unfortunately our addict children, mine included do commit crimes while addicted. Also, you can actually go to court to establish a conservatorship, where you can become co-conservators, along with a third independent party, so they you can make decisions in regards to health care and finances for our adult children. I think the bill in theory is great, unfortunately, many of the states do not have the money to pay for care for our addicted children. It really is just a sad situation.

LisaC said...

I agree that each step toward sobriety, no matter whether forced or voluntary, short or long, does make a difference. Each one builds on the last. I didn't believe this for a long time, but I saw it with my niece, who today, you would never guess was in jail, totally addicted and one step from death and destruction. She is now the loving mom of the 6 year old son of her boyfriend, and I'm guessing that as soon as he has been able to save up for the ring she wants, he will go from being her boyfriend to being her husband. And I have seen this with my son, although he's not out of the woods yet.

I'm glad Lou shared this and thank you for posting. I don't know if we will get there, but it is the right thing to do in my humble opinion.

Dad and Mom said...


I agree addicts commit crimes while addicted and I do not recommend they be absolved of those crimes just because of their addiction. But I have come to realize that crimes committed to feed an addiction are more like a symptom of the disease.

My experience is that before my son became addicted he did not steal, since he has cleaned up he did not steal. While he was using he stole from stores, family, us and anything he could get his hands on. Now we could leave a $20 bill on the table and it would be there until I picked it up.

My question is; do the models we use as a society for punishment for crimes fit the models of addiction?

Barbara said...

I feel like a broken record sometimes but I have witnessed the difference it makes when addicts are treated as addicts vs. criminals. Yes, addicts commit crimes but only because they are addicts. If you steal something to buy drugs, you would not have stole it if you weren't an addict because you would not need the drugs.

But I think where the focus really needs to be is to get this damn heroin off the streets and so accessible. Bust the dealers, get rid of the meth labs....stop making it so damn easy for kids to pick it up in the first place.

(Thank you, Lou, I think of you often and will sing this)

Michelle said...

Ron, you pose a difficult question. I agree with Barbara that addicts commit crimes because they are addicts......but what about the alcoholic who gets behind the wheel and kills an innocent person. Yes, the DWI and the manslaughter is a symptom of his disease but nontheless it is a heinous crime. There was an article in the Daily News about three weeks ago where a mother strung out on drugs put her infant child in the washer machine and killed her, once again the crime was a symptom of her addiction but it doesn't justify the crime, a precious life was lost!

I don't know what the answer is here, I agree with Barbara about getting the drugs off the street, but it isn't likely to happen.

Our addicted ones, at least in my case, had made the choice to choose to continue to use drugs when many offers of treatment were available and offered. My child finally did choose recovery, but there was a time when he didn't and during that period any crimes he committed he should and was held accountable for addict or not.

Brother Frankie said...

i love lou.. i love all of you here. i am an addict/alcholic as many of you know..

i now work with addicts full time as well as have raised many children thru fostering. i also take folks into my home..

i will still take the stand, unless the individual wants to, or chooses to get treatment it is a waist of time and money..

i see so many addicts have as a condition of probation have to attends NA, AA, treatment and its a joke.

They did it to me and i fooled them every time...

i am sorry, i personally thru actually being on the receiving end feel its a waist. But i do agree that things need to be changed..

i wish i had answers. I know so many young people as well as adults that i love so much and all i can do is pray. (as a pastor that is no small thing)..

in Love
Brother Frankie

Dad and Mom said...


I agree an addict or alcoholic that commits a crime should be held accountable but the part I question is about our current models for punishment and rehabilitation.

It has become increasingly clear that our current models of locking up addicts and alcoholics is not solving our drug and alcohol problem. So, the question is what model or new methodology should we employ in dealing with this problem.

Erin said...

I agree with Brother Frankie, unless the addict wants to get help it really is a waste of time and money. I think we have all been there, as I have shared in the past I sent (forced) my son in rehab several times and it didn't work. The only time it worked was when he actually wanted to recover.

When my son was arrested for aggravated DWI two years ago, it was mandatory for him to take the Victim Impact class and many others by the Department of Motor Vehicle. He was also sent for an assessment and was then told he had to go for group counseling for his alcohol problem. Did he stop drinking? Absolutely not. Did he stop drinking and driving, absolutely. Why? Because it cost him a boat load of money, and for the next five years he has to pay a $250 fine to the DMV. The original fine was $800. Then of course there was the fine to the town and the bail money, the car impoundment, the lawyer, etc. etc. He also realized that if he were to get caught again he would be sent to prison, there are no second chances in New York. It was painful for him to have to drive with a conditional license as well. The consequences of his actions taught him not to ever drink and drive again, but it didn't do a darn thing to wake him about his drinking. Also, all of the programs he had to take had to be paid for by the individual. Of course he could not pay for everything but what money he had yes every single penny went towards that.

When my son was in jail for the two hits of acid and I went to see him that night he was crying his eyes out and saying he wanted to get better. He really was not ready for recovery at that point either. When I saw him in court the next evening when he was released he had a cocky attitude, he clearly not ready for recovery at that point. Even if the state forced him into rehab at that point it would have been a waste of time and money. It wasn't until four years later that he chose recovery.

Tori said...

What is being done now isn't working so why not take a different approach. Yes the person has to be ready, but I do know of a few who were in forced rehab and it did work. My nephew is in and out of jail because of speed. Only to be told to go to N/A meetings when he gets out. Maybe he will never get clean but clearly going to jail has no impact on him at all. We pretty much forced my other nephew to rehab and it did work. He has been sober for years now.

I didn't read the whole petition, but I was under the impression that this was for petty crimes (shop lifting, etc.) or for being caught with drugs. Killing someone is a different problem and has to be addressed differently. My son was in a horrible accident by what witnesses say was someone under the influence. That man took off. Should he be punished YES. But no one was killed thank goodness. But he should pay back every cent to the Insurance Co for a completely totalled car and have to be fitted with a monitor(on his car that he would breathe in to) and pay for that. Certainly he should be punished and as angry as I am that he took off, I don't know that jail would do this person any good. There is no easy answer.