Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is Prison the Answer for Drug Users?

Is Prison the Answer for Drug Users?

Posted: Feb 8, 2010 11:37 PM CST

Updated: Feb 8, 2010 11:40 PM CST

Is Prison the Answer for Drug Users?

Reporter: Johnny Archer

Drug addicts and abusers can possibly face time behind bars if they are caught using drugs.

But is prison really the answer for drug abusers? Or is there an alternative solution to the problem?

"I graduated Drug Court with so much more knowledge on pill addiction," says Wes Elkins, a former drug user "How it changes your thought process. And your brain can out smart itself into basically an accidental overdose and the lose of your life, which is what happened to my friend."

His friend was Jerome Modroo, who was caught with drugs along side with Wes. As a punishment, Wes chose to go to Drug Court, Modroo decided to go to prison. The day Modroo got out of prison he went right back to using pills and died.

"You can punish people into staying clean and sober, which does not work," says Addiction Rehabilitation Association Program Director Jared Vineyard. "Putting them in prison and then letting them out again with nothing to follow up, nothing to help them out with the addiction. Time after time, study after study has demonstrated [prison] being ineffective."

"I'm just so frustrated and fed up with what's happening to my friends and family, loved ones, neighbors, and co-workers," says Kelsey Elkins, Wes' wife. "I've had several friends who have lost their life to pain killers."

Kelsey did not want to see her husband also die from abusing OxyContin and using other pharmaceuticals.

"OxyContin is synthetic heroine ,basically, and it grabs you by the horns and slowly takes everything away from you," says Wes.

But Wes didn't want his life taken away. He entered into Drug Court, an intense rehabilitation program supervised by trained drug counselors, instead of the other option of going to jail

"Those guys are all concentrated in a cell block [in prison]," says Vineyard. "And when you come out, you're better able to get the drug you had before and you have more information on how you can get around the law, how to fraud pharmacies and doctors better than you were before. For people who really don't have a criminal behavior of thinking it's really kind of a training ground for them to get better at doing what they do."

Drug court is not free. Wes says he paid about $100 per month for two years. He says it was worth the money instead of just heading to prison for using drugs."

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