SUBSTANCE ABUSE INDUSTRY NEWS #11
13 PRINCIPLES: DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT
FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POPULATIONS
Recently, the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) released a revised edition of its landmark publication providing thirteen treatment principles and research findings that have particular relevance to the criminal justice community and treatment professionals working with drug abusing offenders. These principles are the result of research that supports NIDA’s position on the importance of treatment in the criminal justice setting: “Findings show unequivocally that providing comprehensive drug abuse treatment to criminal offenders works, reducing both drug abuse and criminal recidivism.”
This list identifies NIDA’s thirteen principles, each followed by a short summary or comment (the full text can be found on NIDA's website):
- Drug addiction is a brain disease that affects behavior.
Substance Use Disorder is widely recognized by experts as having cognitive, behavioral, physiological characteristics, including alteration of brain chemistry. Awareness of this outside the medical and scientific communities can help reduce stigma faced by persons both inside and out of a criminal justice context.
- Recovery from drug addiction requires effective treatment, followed by management of the problem over time.
Because substances have been proven to alter the brain’s neural pathways, person’s with SUD may be at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence.
- Treatment must last long enough to produce stable behavioral changes.
Early in treatment, persons are engaged in a therapeutic process that involves getting acclimated to life without substances; it is only later on in treatment that persons begin to understand the issues underlying substance use and how to address or manage them.
- Assessment is the first step in treatment.
No two addicts are the same. Comprehensive assessment that includes a mental health evaluation should be conducted to determine other areas of concern that may affect recovery.
- Tailoring services to fit the needs of the individual is an important part of effective drug abuse treatment for criminal justice populations.
Individuals respond differently to different treatment approaches and treatment providers. Drug treatment should address issues of motivation, problem-solving, and skill-building for resisting drug use and criminal behavior.
- Drug use during treatment should be carefully monitored.
Careful monitoring is not only important to ensure compliance but also to identify drug use triggers. Accordingly, treatment plans can be adjusted to avoid relapse in the future.
- Treatment should target factors that are associated with criminal behavior.
Effective treatment provides specific cognitive skills training to help individuals recognize errors in judgment that lead to drug abuse and criminal behavior and are more likely to improve outcomes.
- Criminal justice supervision should incorporate treatment planning for drug abusing offenders, and treatment providers should be aware of correctional supervision requirements.
In short, treatment providers should confer with criminal justice officials so that correctional requirements can be satisfied as part of treatment goals.
- Continuity of care is essential for drug abusers re-entering the community.
Continuing substance abuse treatment helps the recently released offender deal with problems that become relevant after release, such as learning to handle situations that could lead to relapse, learning how to live drug-free in the community, and developing a drug-free peer support network.
- A balance of rewards and sanctions encourages pro-social behavior and treatment participation.
Rewards and sanctions are most likely to have the desired effect when they are perceived as fair and when they swiftly follow the targeted behavior.
- Offenders with co-occurring drug abuse and mental health problems often require an integrated treatment approach.
The presence of co-occurring disorders may require an integrated approach that combines drug abuse treatment with psychiatric treatment, including the use of medication.
- Medications are an important part of treatment for many drug abusing offenders.
Medicines such as methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone have been shown to reduce heroin use and should be made available to individuals who could benefit from them.
- Treatment planning for drug abusing offenders who are living in or re-entering the community should include strategies to prevent and treat serious, chronic medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis.
The rates of infectious diseases are higher in drug abusers, incarcerated offenders, and offenders under community supervision than in the general population. Offenders should be linked with appropriate health care services, encouraged to comply with medical treatment, and assessed for eligibility for public health services before release from prison or jail.
At Romano Law Group, Rainer Boggiano is focused on representing plaintiffs in catastrophic injury matters, including wrongful death, negligence, medical malpractice, and products liability litigation.
Rainer earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, Florida and his Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.
While attending law school, Rainer served as a judicial extern at Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal and a legal intern for ADT Security Services at its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton. He graduated with multiple Dean’s List honors and was a Pro Bono Award recipient in recognition for completing 150+ hours of community service. Currently, he is assisting with the Pro Bono work on behalf of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences.
Rainer is active in several community organizations, having served as a volunteer for the 15th Judicial Circuit’s Guardian ad Litem Program, a tutor at the Mandel Public Library’s homework center, and a mentor for several local non-profit organizations.
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Susan is Pro Bono Counsel for the Florida Association of Recovery Residences.
Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional product liability and medical negligence.