Opioid addiction is a growing problem throughout the country, and Congress is currently looking for new ways to handle the issue. Among the ideas to help people with addictions is shifting the focus from a criminal matter to a health matter. That's not to say that using or abusing drugs won't still be a crime, but that the opportunities for people to get help and rebuild their lives will be more abundant. Funding for treatment programs will be increased, allowing people who are struggling with opioid addiction to have health care that they would not have otherwise received.
Will There Be Enough Funding?
The biggest concern with the bill Congress is working on is that the funding that would have originally been set aside for opioid addiction treatment has been reduced. It may not be enough to help everyone who needs it. However, it will provide more than is currently being offered, and that can make a big difference in the lives of many people who are struggling with addiction. Breaking an addiction to opioids is very difficult, and time and money will be required on an ongoing basis.
What About the Criminal Aspect of Addiction?
Abuse of opioids will still be a criminal act, and people who are treated for addiction won't simply be exonerated of the charges against them. But the penalties may be different for people who are seeking treatment and doing well in it, as opposed to those who refuse treatment or go back to their old ways after treatment has been completed. The goal of helping addicts instead of just jailing them represents a serious shift of focus for the government and lawmakers, who are coming to realize that the skyrocketing opioid addiction epidemic may become a national health crisis.
How to Get Help for Opioid Addiction
Treatment for opioid addiction is currently available, and there will be more money for more treatment options soon if the current bill passes Congress and is signed by the President. But that doesn't stop the legal and criminal issues that a person with an opioid addiction can face. That may require the services of an attorney, in order to get the help needed to move on with life. If you or a loved one need legal help due to an opioid addiction, and are facing charges or legal problems because of that addiction, working with a knowledgeable attorney can help you determine what steps to take next.