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Treating Addiction: Drug Addict Rehab Priorities

Updated on June 30, 2010

As a result of global concern over the effectiveness of placing alcohol and narcotic-abusing offenders into jail, mandatory Drug Addiction Rehab therapy has become a concept of renewed interest in all developed countries. The groups which encourage mandated therapy point to social cost, public health, harm reduction arguments and the ever present high risk of recidivism to support their cases. They have some measure of research to back up their position as some studies suggest that treatment, instead of incarceration, may represent a rehabilitative modality to reduce the personal and societal damage associated with substance abuse, and poses a very cost effective option to society.

The cost to the taxpayer, the law enforcement sector, the judicial and correctional institutions, and to society in general is counted in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year and this is in the United States alone. Worldwide, the cost is clearly in the trillions of dollars per year. The lost productivity, traffic accidents, domestic abuse, health care costs, and personal tragedies overlay a layer of desperation which reaches each and every member of the nation and the world. It is a pervasive and stubborn problem which is stultifying considerable social and economic development and progress around the world.

The majority of scholarship on the topic determines that coercion can be linked directly from the inferred referral source. This concept corresponds to the organizational, institutional or administrative definition of the word. Within this perspective coerced patients have sources of referral such as their families, the courts, various social and medical agencies etc., while non-coerced patients are in a situation whereby they effectively place themselves into the condition that they find themselves in. Almost all of the medical and clinical studies examining the effectiveness of Drug Addiction Rehab therapy which is borne from an external force of coercion, have taken to heart this administrative definition of therapeutic coercion.

These studies seem to indicate that the source of referral does not show any accurate or particular correspondence with the perceptions of the patient that Drug Addiction Rehab therapy is a coercive force and that they are, at least at the present time, forced to submit. Furthermore, these situations demonstrate a pair of important limitations of the medical and clinical studies which can currently be located in the literature. First of all, research attempting to determine the prevalence of therapeutic coercion by calculating the number of patients referred from the various and varied sources have likely concluded with inaccurate estimates, since no guarantees exist that all court referrals are aware that Drug Addiction Rehab therapy administered in this specific manner is seen to the patient as a coercive imposition.

Research into the effectiveness of coerced substance abuse therapy seems to have been critically compromised, due to the fact that the majority of this research compared outcomes among patients grouped according to the source of referral and do not directly quantify patients' perceptions of coercion. It is therefore likely that coercion has not to date ever been adequately assessed.

Continued In - Treating Addiction: Drug Addict Rehab Priorities Part 2

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