NIDA Confirms Benefit of Drug Treatment Programs for Criminal Offenders

October 1, 2006
Volume 23, Issue 11

Effective treatment of drug abuse and addiction in the criminal justice system saves the community money and reduces crime, the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported in a recently released booklet, Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations.

Effective treatment of drug abuse and addiction in the criminal justice system saves the community money and reduces crime, the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported in a recently released booklet, Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations.

One of the topics the publication emphasizes is the connection between drug abuse and crime rates. The cost of drug abuse to society in 2002 was $181 billion and $107 billion was associated with drug-related crime.

The guide offers 13 principles of drug abuse treatment, including the recognition that drug addiction is a brain disease that affects behavior. A "Frequently Asked Questions" section attempts to answer questions such as why incarcerated individuals continue to abuse drugs; why treatment of abuse should be provided; how treatment can be most effective; the required length of treatment needed to achieve success; and unique treatment needs for incarcerated women and juvenile offenders.

It was estimated that for every dollar spent on the treatment of addiction, the cost of drug-related crime was reduced by $4 to $7. The guide, which can be accessed on NIDA's Web site at http://www.drugabuse.gov, concludes with resources for statistics, screening, and assessment for adults and juveniles, as well as information on research centers and programs.