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Treating addiction behind bars – a step towards improving lives and reducing recidivism

Treating addiction behind bars – a step towards improving lives and reducing recidivism

At the end of year 2016, state and federal correctional facilities in the United States held more than 1 million inmates, with nearly half of them serving sentence for drug-related offenses. To reduce overcrowding and recidivism in prisons, correctional authorities began expanding prison-based drug treatment programs. While these programs were not enough to facilitate long-term recovery, the inmates stood a better chance both inside and outside the prisons when they participated in these drug abuse programs during their incarceration.

However, when it came to offering addiction treatment to these inmates, some of the barriers to adequate treatment access included lack of drug abuse rehabilitation programs in prisons, security concerns during addiction treatment, cost of treatment as well as prior failed treatments. Though these treatment programs have evolved over the years, there is a need to design and execute them to reduce misconduct and recidivism on part of inmates.

BOP’s substance abuse treatment strategy, a step forward

For over 20 years, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has been providing inmates with treatment programs for their drug and alcohol addiction. That has not only helped incarcerated addiction patients, but has also had a positive impact on their families and communities. As part of its drug abuse treatment, the BOP provides the inmates with education on drugs, residential and non-residential drug abuse treatment programs, therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and skill-building opportunity as well as community treatment services (CTS).

These drug treatment programs are also provided to mentally ill offenders and Spanish-only U.S. citizens. The programs thus improve the offenders’ lives in and out of the prison and also helps reduce relapse into criminal behavior, thereby having a positive impact on public safety.

Jason’s story – at a crossroads

For 32-year-old Jason Wasylenko from Pennsylvania, some of the most productive years of his life were spent behind bars to the effect that he became accustomed to it; knew what he would get inside and knew what to expect post his release. Wasylenko’s drug abuse during early teens progressed to heroin use soon after the death of his father. To get rid of his addiction, Wasylenko went to rehab multiple times, but it did not bear results. Somehow, he got lucky and was offered a different environment, a different way to begin his life. But that was not to be. On a visit back home to his room infested with drug paraphilia, Wasylenko fell back to his old ways. This time rehab was replaced by prison.

Offering a firsthand account of the drug-related treatment programs inside the correctional facilities, Wasylenko found these efforts to be inadequate. According to him, while the prison facility provided him access to educational classes and a 12-step program for drug addiction, he would have rather liked an individual treatment option. However, owing to lack of employees and treatment options inside the prison, not everyone benefits from the programs offered.

Going back-and-forth, without access to adequate substance abuse treatment, Wasylenko spent about 11 years in prison on drug-related charges. Now in recovery, Wasylenko is aware that he will never get back the years he has lost and therefore spends more time with his family, is regular at 12-step meetings and is an active member of the community. Though he has restarted his life outside prison, he is aware what can trigger his addiction and take him back to the point where he started. He is also aware that he could choose the right lifestyle and be there for his friends and family. In all, he is at a crossroads.

Help is just a call away

Any addiction requires proper diagnosis and recovery plan to bring it under complete control. At Sovereign Health, we understand how addiction to drugs can lead to various consequences on one’s personal and professional life and have far-reaching effects that encompass family, friends and society as a whole. Knowing the harmful effects of addiction, we offer our patients personalized treatment that combines expert medical care with nutritional and health services in a sober and welcoming environment.

Treatment for drug addiction at our inpatient rehab center may comprise medically-assisted detox, behavioral therapies and aftercare program to help avoid relapse. For more information on our evidence-based treatment programs or to locate our outpatient / inpatient drug rehab, call at our 24/7 helpline number (855)-683-9756 or chat live with our admission counselor.