For any two drug users, the paths they each follow to becoming addicted to drugs can be similar, even if they live in different countries and come from diverse backgrounds. Where those paths might diverge at some point is when one goes into drug rehab, and the other finds themselves in prison following a conviction for drugs offences.
The circumstances that leads each of these two people to the situation they are in now can be influenced by many things. It could be the country or state they live in and the laws and attitudes to drugs that exist there. Another could be that one’s family was supportive, and the other’s was not. It could even be down to luck where one almost gets caught in possession of drugs and seen that as a wake-up call to enter drugs rehab, whereas the other got caught and convicted.
No doubt these two scenarios have played out all around the world, and it brings us to where we compare rehab and prison and how they compare as solutions to drug addiction and drug crime. Is one better than the other, or do both rehab and prison complement each other and make the other more effective? To try to come up with some answers to those questions, here are some basic comparisons between time in rehab, and time in prison.
Prison Is A Forced Punishment, Whereas Rehab Is Usually A Voluntary Choice
Let us be honest, nobody in their right mind is going to volunteer to go to prison, and that applies and even more so to someone who is addicted to drugs. On the other hand, going into rehab is normally a path which a drug user will volunteer to take. The difference in both of these scenarios is highlighted by the many studies that show that drug rehabilitation is far more effective when it is done voluntarily.
In those countries where forced rehabilitation takes place, the results have been poor and given that even within prisons drug use is often widespread, a drug user going into prison is unlikely to have any real incentives to go clean.
Rehab Includes Support And Advice From Trained Professionals, Prison Does Not
Another huge difference between going into a rehab facility and prison, is that the former has the primary aim of helping people end their addiction to drugs, For that reason anyone on a drug rehab program will have access to trained drug rehab specialists who can create a plan specifically designed to help that individual achieve their aim of getting clean.
Unfortunately, prisons do not provide that same level of support, and whilst there will be many prisoner officers who are dedicated to their profession and helping prisoners where they can, few of them will have had the level of training needed to support a prisoner who needs counselling related to their drug addiction.
Prison Is A Time Out From Drugs, Whereas Rehab Is An Escape From Drugs
Even in prisons that are vigilant with regards to drugs entering and being used by prisoners, for many drug users, it will represent no more than a period of biding their time away from their loved ones with a countdown to their release date and the opportunity to take drugs again.
For those who are in drug rehab, it will be a time of support, where they can still be with family and where each day is a day further away from their addiction and towards a brighter future, free from drugs.