Making drug possession a criminal offense has resulted in individuals going to jail whose only crime is chemical dependence. Criminal convictions for drug possession and other addiction-related offenses can hamper someone’s potential for advancement in life when they finally conquer their addiction.
Between the criminal record that such charges produce and the psychological damage that incarceration can cause, going to jail for charges stemming from addiction may only help reinforce addictive behavior.
West Virginia, like many other states, recognizes drug addiction as a health concern more than a criminal matter. That means that some individuals facing charges can request a hearing in the West Virginia drug courts instead of in the criminal courts.
How drug court can help someone struggling with addiction
For some people, criminal charges themselves are a bit of a wake-up call. Going through the drug courts also means that someone struggling with addiction will have the structure and support of the state behind them.
The focus of the West Virginia drug courts is to reduce crime by helping people overcome addiction. That process can involve counseling, withdrawal support, job training and much more. Drug counseling, rehabilitative inpatient stays and frequent drug and alcohol testing can all help those struggling with addiction to do better at maintaining sobriety and leave their addictions behind.
Not only can the process of going through drug court help an addict achieve and maintain sobriety, but the public criminal record and penalties will be less than the criminal consequences and record that would stem from standard criminal charges. For those facing drug charges, drug court can be an attractive option for many non-violent offenders.