Drug addiction occurs when an individual becomes mentally or physically dependent upon the use of a drug or drugs in order to function normally in their everyday life. Addictions are complex phenomena and may involve numerous different forms of behavior.

For example, certain drugs may cause chemical changes in an individual’s brain which cause them to become physically addicted to a substance, known as physiological dependence. Other forms of drug addiction include a behavioral addiction, which occurs when an individual’s addiction is rooted in the behavioral aspects instead of a physical dependence on the drug.

Which Drugs Are Considered Addictive?

There are certain drugs which may be considered more addictive than others. Drugs which are commonly involved in heavy drug addiction may include but are not limited to:

There are also various other substances that may be considered to be addictive drugs. The laws governing how drugs are classified may vary by state.

What is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is defined, in general, as an excessive use of a substance for non-medical purposes. Ingesting these types of substances impairs many aspects of a user’s well-being, including:

  • Emotional;
  • Mental;
  • Physical; and
  • Social.

Drug abuse can also interfere with an individual’s normal life in numerous ways, including their:

  • Work and employment;
  • Relationships with spouses or partners; or
  • Relationships with children and other family members.

Drug abuse is commonly associated with illegal activities, including:

In some cases, an individual may be required to attend a drug rehabilitation program as part of their sentence if they are convicted of a crime.

What Do Drug Laws Cover?

A drug crime is a crime which involves illicit drugs. An illicit drug is a substance which has been declared illegal due to:

  • Possess;
  • Use; or
  • Distribute without obtaining authorization under state or federal laws.

These drugs are usually classified under schedules which exist in order to rank the drugs in terms of how dangerous they are to individuals as well as to society. Illicit drugs are subject to monitoring and control by the government in order to ensure that the general public is protected from the dangers of these types of drugs.

It may be illegal to do certain things with drugs as well, including:

  • Creating;
  • Controlling; or
  • Distributing.

These issues will depend upon the type of the drugs, the amount of the drug which was possessed, as well as the intentions of the defendant. It is important to note that the difference between a legal drug and an illegal drug may be determined by the way in which the drug is utilized.

An example of this distinction is how certain states have legalized the use of medicinal cannabis but have not legalized the substance for recreational use.

What is a Drug Rehabilitation Program?

Drug rehabilitation programs assist individuals who are addicted to drugs to stop their substance abuse and to rebuild their lives. These programs are often run by or in conjunction with the state and typically follow a set curriculum.

While an individual is in a drug rehabilitation program, they may:

  • Learn coping skills to overcome drug abuse;
  • Combat the loneliness and shame that is associated with being addicted to drugs and/ or alcohol;
  • Create relapse prevention plans; or
  • Develop real-world skills which will assist them with re-adjusting when entering back into society.

Although drug rehabilitation programs may be available for various different types of substances, they are often associated with the habits related to addictive drugs. This may include addictions to substances including:

  • Alcohol;
  • Cocaine or crack cocaine;
  • Methamphetamines and other stimulants;
  • Heroin;
  • Prescription pill or prescription medication abuse; or
  • Various other types of drugs or substances.

Private drug rehabilitation programs may be available to members of the general public in cases where individuals want to seek help for their addiction voluntarily, even if they have not faced criminal charges. A state-sponsored drug rehabilitation program, however, is a party of the criminal justice system because some individuals commit crimes in order to perpetuate their drug addiction.

The aspiration with these programs is that the drug-addicted convict will no longer commit crimes if they are able to stop abusing drugs. A common example of this occurs when an individual commits theft crimes or engages in other illegal conduct in order to support their drug abuse habit.
Because of this, drug rehabilitation programs are usually part of a diversionary program or other alternative sentencing option that can provide a defendant with assistance.

What is a Diversionary Program?

Diversionary programs provide offenders with the opportunity to avoid incarceration and, instead, to complete a rehabilitation program. The defendant is placed under probationary supervision for around a year.

During this time, the defendant completes a drug rehabilitation program or anger management classes. Diversionary programs are typically reserved for individuals who meet certain qualifications, including not having any prior drug crimes.

A diversionary program is often a common option for a minor or a juvenile defendant. A diversionary program is usually regulated under the criminal laws of the state in which it is located, which may vary by state.

In many cases, a prosecutor has discretion to recommend a defendant for a drug rehabilitation or a diversionary program. A judge may also have the discretion to recommend a diversionary program for an eligible defendant.

In addition to drug rehabilitation measures, a diversionary program as well as some drug rehabilitation programs may also involve other measures, including:

  • Mandatory community service;
  • Payment of restitution to persons who were affected by the crime, for example, payment to individuals whom the defendant stole from in order to support their drug abuse habit;
  • Avoiding situations or settings that may lead to a relapse into drug use;
  • Restrictions on entering or traveling to certain areas, such as school zones;
  • Letters of apology to individuals who have been affected by the situation;
  • Random drug testing; or
  • Paying criminal fines or fees or paying community fines.

A diversionary program may not be available for every defendant, especially if the defendant is a repeat offender or if the drug crime also involves aspects of other serious crimes, including:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Homicide; or
  • Other similar crimes.

What is Accelerated Rehabilitation?

Accelerated rehabilitation is a specific form of diversionary program which includes mandatory drug education and behavior monitoring. These programs are regulated by the state, and are generally for individuals:

  • With no previous criminal record;
  • Who have not previously participated in an accelerated rehabilitation program;
  • Who do not have a previous juvenile record within five years of the current charge; or
  • Who do not have a previous conviction of:
    • family law violations;
    • violent felonies; or
    • drug crimes.

How Long Does Drug Rehabilitation Last?

The amount of time an individual spends in a residential or outpatient drug treatment program will vary from individual to individual in addition to the exact circumstances they are facing. The program typically lasts 90 days but may be as long as 1 year.

An accelerated rehabilitation program may vary in terms of its length. Rehabilitation for certain types of drugs may require different treatment methods and time frames as compared with other drugs.

Should I Discuss Drug Rehabilitation with a Lawyer?

If you have a drug addiction issue, drug rehabilitation is an important aspect of rebuilding your life. It may be helpful to consult with a criminal defense lawyer to discuss which programs you may be eligible to participate in and how to get into a program.