Drug abuse is generally defined as the excessive use of a substance for non-medical purposes. Ingesting the substance impairs the emotional, mental, physical and social well-being of the user. Drug abuse can interfere with a person’s normal life in many aspects, including:

  • Work and employment;
  • Relationships with spouses or partners; and/or
  • Relationships with children and other family members.

Drug abuse is often associated with illegal activity, including illegal possession of drugs, misuse of prescription drugs, and other crimes.  Sometimes, a person may be required to attend drug rehabilitation as part of their sentence for committing a crime.

What is a Drug Rehabilitation Program?

A drug rehabilitation program helps individuals addicted to drugs stop their substance abuse and rebuild their lives. These are often run by or in conjunction with the state, and can often follow set curriculums. While in the program, individuals may:

  • Learn coping skills to overcome drug abuse;
  • Combat the shame, loneliness, and shame that is associated with being addicted to drugs and/ or alcohol;
  • Create relapse prevention plans; and/or
  • Develop real-world skills to help them re-adjust when entering back into society.

While drug rehabilitation programs may be available for various types of substances, they are commonly associated with addictive drug habits. These can include addictions to:

  • Alcohol;
  • Cocaine or crack cocaine;
  • Methamphetamines and other stimulants;
  • Heroin;
  • Prescription pill or prescription medication abuse; and/or
  • Various other types of drugs or substances.

Private drug rehabilitation programs exist for the general public in cases where people want to voluntarily seek help for their addiction, even without having faced any criminal charges. However, state-sponsored drug rehabilitation programs are also a part of the criminal justice system because some people commit crimes to feed their addiction.

The hope is that a drug-addicted convict will no longer commit crimes if they can stop abusing drugs. A common example of this is where a person begins stealing or engaging in other illegal conduct in order to support their drug abuse habit. Thus, drug rehabilitation is typically part of a diversionary program or other alternative sentencing options that can provide the defendant with assistance.

What Is a Diversionary Program?

A diversionary program allows offenders the opportunity to avoid incarceration and complete a rehabilitation program instead. An offender is placed under probationary supervision for about a year. During that time, they complete a drug rehabilitation program or anger management classes. Diversionary programs are often reserved for persons who meet specific qualifications, such as having no prior drug crimes. Diversionary programs are often common options for minors and juvenile defendants.

Diversionary programs are typically regulated under state criminal laws. These can vary from state to state. In most instances, the prosecutor has the discretion to recommend a defendant to a drug rehabilitation program or diversionary programs. Judges may also have a say in recommending diversionary programs for eligible defendants.

Besides drug rehabilitation measures, diversionary programs (and even some drug rehabilitation programs) may involve other measures, such as:

  • Mandatory community service;
  • Payment of restitution to persons who were affected by the crime (for instance, payment to persons who the defendant stole from in order to support their drug abuse habit);
  • Avoiding situations or settings that might lead to a relapse into drug use;
  • Restrictions on entering or traveling to certain areas (such as school zones);
  • Letters of apology to persons who have been affected by the situation;
  • Random drug testing; and/or
  • Payment of criminal fines or fees or community fines.

Diversionary programs may not be available for all defendants, especially if the person is a repeat offender or if the drug crime also has aspects of other serious crimes (such as assault/battery, homicide, or other similar crimes).

What is Accelerated Rehabilitation?

Accelerated rehabilitation is a specific type of diversionary program that includes mandatory drug education and behavior monitoring. It is regulated by the state, and is generally for people with:

  • No previous criminal record;
  • No previous participation in an accelerated rehabilitation program;
  • No previous juvenile record within five years of the current charge; and/or
  • No previous conviction of family law violations, violent felonies, or drug crimes.

How Long Does Drug Rehabilitation Last?

How long someone spends in a residential or outpatient drug treatment program varies from person to person, as well the exact circumstances they are facing. The minimum length of time is normally 90 days, but it can be up to one year. Accelerated rehabilitation programs may vary in terms of their time length. Rehabilitation for certain drugs may involve different treatment methods and time frames compared with other types of drugs.

Should I Discuss Drug Rehabilitation with a Lawyer?

Drug rehabilitation is an extremely important part of building your life. It is highly recommended that you contact a criminal defense lawyer to discuss getting into drug rehabilitation program. A criminal law attorney in your area can discuss your options and what steps you can take to address your situation.