Many young people in North Carolina struggle with addiction. That’s true in states across the country. However, it’s important to understand that addiction in and of itself is not a crime. People may do many things they regret in the pursuit of their drug of choice. But simply having a chemical dependency is something that no one can control. It’s a condition that should arguably be met with sympathy, not scorn.
The problem of criminalization
When it comes to drug crimes, sometimes society is seeking to penalize someone who just has a personal problem. Most addicts are not out to hurt anyone, including themselves. They’re just on a mission to score more drugs and use them. They’re not the importer or distributor. They’re not the one cutting drugs with more dangerous substances. They’re just addicted.
Criminalizing things like possession of small amounts for personal use puts addicts between a rock and a hard place. Many activists favor a system called harm reduction. In this scenario, people would be able to know exactly what drug they’re getting and be able to use it in a safe place. They would also be made aware of treatment options to help them step down or eliminate their drug use.
Today in North Carolina, many young people who had unfortunate upbringings are being penalized for adapting with the wrong coping mechanism. Treatment, not incarceration, is what could really help them. If you or a loved one is facing jail time for drug offenses, it’s important to get good legal advice. An experienced attorney may be able to help an addicted client enter a diversion program where treatment is the focus, not punishment.