Changing attitudes toward drug addiction have revolutionized recovery treatment in the United States. Just decades ago, the majority of society believed people with drug dependency issues were criminals. Before that, the country considered these people mentally unstable. While these perceptions still persist, more liberal approaches to substance abuse have influenced the way people receive treatment. Rehabilitation centers can be found all across the country, with their doors open to all types of people seeking treatment.
This shift has been very necessary and long overdue. It’s imperative to remind society that not all addicts are criminals. The more we treat them like they’re horrible people, the more likely are to engage in behaviors that prove the negative stigmas to be true. People with substance abuse issues are generally very broken, lack confidence, and are unstable both physically and mentally. By making shifts towards treating these people with understanding, respect, and offering legitimate help, addicts won’t have to go through the harsh judgement and sufferings that they’ve endured in the past. Here’s how America’s treatment landscape has changed.
Public Perception of People With Substance Abuse Problems in the U.S.
Perceptions toward substance abuse have changed dramatically in the U.S. in recent years. The majority of Americans — just over two-thirds, or 67 percent — favor a treatment-based approach to drug dependency, according to research from the Pew Research Center. Just 26 percent of Americans believe that prosecution is the right course of action for people with substance abuse issues. It’s important that people are beginning to understand that sending an addict to jail or prison won’t solve their problem. Those suffering from substance abuse issues need to be in a nurturing environment: not one filled with aggression, loneliness, and more of the illicit drugs that got them there in the first place.
The public is still concerned about substance abuse in the U.S. as a whole, though. Thirty-two percent of respondents in the Pew Research Center survey say drug abuse is a crisis, while 55 percent think it’s a serious problem.
“Half regard the problem of drug abuse in their neighborhoods, including its schools, that seriously. These views have not changed much since the mid-1990s,” says the report.
Here in Arizona, there is a wide range of treatment options for people who suffer from drug addiction. These include holistic treatment, trauma therapy, and medical detox. If you are fighting addiction — or know someone who is — Arizona Addiction Recovery Center provides you with a safe, welcoming environment where you can talk about drug dependency issues with other patients.
Global Perceptions of Drug Abuse
Changing perceptions of people with drug dependency problems aren’t limited to the U.S. Portugal, for example, decriminalized illicit drug use in 2000. In the Czech Republic, authorities treat possession of small quantities of drugs as an administrative offense, which carries a fine.
In these countries, governments favor a treatment-based approach to substance abuse, and policymakers focus on treatment and prevention instead of prosecution.
“Countries across the world take very different approaches from decriminalization to lengthy prison sentences and even death. Does anyone get it right?” asks The Telegraph.
As we’ve read, perceptions of drug abuse and it’s policies differ far and wide. With so many different types of measures, methods of law enforcement, treatments, and rehabilitation options, it can be difficult to determine which approaches work best, which aren’t as successful, and which don’t work at all. So the question “does anyone get it right?” holds a lot of weight and a lot of truth.
Government Response to Changing Perceptions of Drug Abuse
As public perception of people with substance abuse problems has shifted, federal and state legislation has also evolved. Across the country, drug sentences have become more lenient, with the criminal justice system often favoring treatment, instead of jail, for people who misuse certain drugs. Drug users and abusers aren’t always at fault, and this leniency allows for those caught in the wrong place at the wrong time to walk away with less severe charges than they would have had the situation taken place a few years ago.
Here in Arizona, there has been a wider focus on the pharmaceutical companies and doctors who administer and prescribe particular drugs, rather than the people who use them.
“Recent legislation includes new regulations that will limit initial opioid prescriptions to five days and set a maximum of 30 days for certain patients receiving highly addictive painkillers,” says Reuters. In addition, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced a $10 million fund for opioid users without insurance or Medicaid in an effort for patients to get the medication they need with proper medical assistance. When it comes to opioids, dosage is crucial and should be determined by a medical professional.
In fact, Arizona continues to suffer from a very serious opioid epidemic. It has been proven that individuals can become dependent on opioids in as little as five days. Limiting the duration of the prescription, as well as the dosage given, could be an effective way of curbing an addiction before it happens. Despite any preventative measures that can be taken, where there is a will, there is a way: if patients are desperate to get their hands on more painkillers, they could go as far as making the switch to heroin if it’s more easily attainable than the pills they were originally taking. This is actually how a significant amount of heroin users start their addiction: the opioids they were taking for medical purposes was addictive and unattainable, so they turned to the next best relief they could find.
Arizona Addiction Recovery Center specializes in drug rehabilitation, with ranging program options individualized to the needs of each and every patient that walks through our doors. As Arizona’s leading addiction treatment center, you can work toward long-term recovery with a team of trained specialists.
Want to find out more? Call Arizona Addiction Recovery Center at 602.346.9130 today and speak to a friendly member of the team who can suggest the best course of treatment in your circumstance.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.