Punish or Treat Addiction? 

The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019, the highest figures ever reported. However, 2020 is expected to be well over 80,000 during Covid-19 isolation. At the same time, the Surgeon General reports that over 20.8 million Americans suffer from substance abuse, and one in seven Americans eventually will face addiction in some form. Historically, addiction has been addressed by the criminal justice system as imprisonment that often takes the place of treatment. Addiction and the criminal justice system have a long and intertwined history. Typically, drug and alcohol abuse lead to criminal justice involvement both directly (possession and trafficking of illegal drugs) and indirectly (larceny to obtain drugs, motor vehicle accidents/DUIs).

timeline of drug overdoses

Decriminalization and legalization of Drugs

After decades of strict drug laws and penalties, the United States is in the busy arrival of legalizing marijuana, with more states joining the legal marijuana effort each year. Moreover, some western U.S. states like Washington and Oregon have decriminalized hard street drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth. Essentially, a small possession to use will give you two options from law enforcement. The individual can opt for 30-day state supported treatment or simply pay a nominal fine of $100. While most agree that getting people help for their addiction is the right move, the question becomes “is 180 degrees in the opposite direction the right approach?” The answer lies somewhere in the middle as a consequence free environment that is void of deterrents will eventually harm American communities.

Drug Court in Florida

In 1989, the nation’s first drug court was established in Miami-Dade County to better assist people with substance use disorders and behavioral health problems. Specifically, drug courts offer drug offenders the ability to get help for their addiction, as a substitute to jail time. The voluntary program involves frequent appearances before the drug court judge, addiction treatment and regular, random drug testing. Typically, the court will demand that the offender remain “clean” for one-year and maintain the prior requisites. In return, the court agrees to drop the charges at successful program completion.  Florida now has over 100 drug courts statewide. They are largely touted as a success as studies show that drug courts reduce recidivism, decrease taxpayer cost and are better at serving the community compared to a prosecution leading to prison time.

Expansion of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Addiction treatment programs for those who already classify as addicts in the criminal justice system need repair. One of the most helpful treatment plans would include expansion of medication assisted treatment (MAT). MAT combines behavioral therapies with FDA-approved medicines (Suboxone) that reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, MAT is still fighting for acknowledgment even outside of jails, despite data of positive outcomes. Unsurprisingly, it is even more challenging to implement MAT within prisons. As a result, re-acclimating into the community can be even more tricky with a substance abuse problem. This needs to change!

Simple Path Recovery is a beach side, boutique addiction treatment center located in Pompano Beach, FL. Recognized as a Top Florida Drug & Alcohol Rehab, Simple Path is committed to individualized care, 12-step integration, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Their addiction helpline is available 24/7 at 855-467-3625.


About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.


"I can’t put into words what this place have done not for just for my daughter but our whole family. The phone calls/ text didn’t stop when she finished treatment. They still go above and beyond to stay in contact with us all. I know without a doubt these guys love what they do!! I would recommend ANYONE to this treatment center. And can never thank them enough for what they did for my family."


Dana J.

"I've worked with a number of addiction treatment centers over time and I'm always impressed by the smaller programs. Simple Path rises to the top of this group that resonates with staff and patients alike."


Matthew K.

"Simple path recovery has truly been a godsend for me. From day one, they took me under their arm and showed me how to live a happy and successful life in recovery! They gave me all the spiritual tools I needed and a lot more! I’ve met a lot of people in recovery and I can honestly say simple path cares. I’m still friends with all the staff and they are definitely my recovery family. God bless you guys!"


Justin M.

"Simple Path saved my life. There hands on approach to helping you start living a self reliant independent sober life has been nothing short of a blessing to me. I am totally grateful for the staff and the techs."


Harry C.

"Simple path is a good place to go if you're in need of halfway with some clinical help! The staff is great both at iop and at housing. Lee, Derrick, and Ian are all great employees along with Denise and Peter at IOP."


Dan D.

"I sent my son here and the staff at SPR made the process so easy and comfortable for us and my son. I can't say enough good things about this place.


Delores M.

"Nice staff, beautiful property and facility along A1A."


Jeremiah C.

"I just want to say thank you simple path you helped to save my life. I was broken before I came here but today my life is amazing. I learned so much from talking with staff and all the coping skills I learned in the groups. The fact that the staff walked in my shoes gave my hope when I first got here. I am so grateful that I chose this place. If you want to get sober this is the place to be."


Jordan D.

Simple Path was there for Dennis when he was most broken. They provided him with support and gave him the tools he needed to shed the ill feelings he once felt about himself. Today, Dennis has a new perspective, gaining the confidence to walk out of Simple Path’s doors a changed man; living a healthier and happier life.


Dennis

"This IOP program has been a pillar in my recovery. They let me stay for as long as I needed to and worked on my core issues. "


Jessica R.

"I have sent numerous patients to Simple Path with great success. The transition from my facility to theirs has always been a smooth one. The care and compassion at this facility is remarkable. Most of my work is with Matt O’Malley who goes over and beyond to make sure our patients feel comfortable when they arrive at the facility. It’s an honor to collaborate with this facility daily!"


Pat C.

"Amazing place if you are trying to get sober. Helps kick start your life when you get into the real world. All the staff here genuinely cares about all the clients."


Jake B.

"Staff genuinely cares, clinical staff and therapists are educated and also care about clients. Techs, Jason, And Dave care and will talk with clients and provide experience and advice."


Matt K.

"All the therapists are great and very supportive!"


Matthew L.

"Simple Path is an absolutely great place to start turning your life around! From the beginning they were extremely helpful and made sure my entire process very easy and smooth. Everyone that helped me personally there from the start - Lee, Kyle, Matt are all fantastic guys who always had my back with any assistance I needed, always went the extra mile and remained that way my entire time there."


Max B.

"I am so grateful for simple path and all the staff there. They have taught me a lot about myself and how to deal with everyday life challenges. Ian with out a doubt saved my life without him in my corner I don’t know where I would be. The clinical staff is very informative about addiction and help client’s get back on there feet. I’m so very grateful they got to be part of my journey."


Jake S.

"Simple path by far is the place to go for help with alcohol and drugs.. I went through there intensive out patient program which you live in their house for 30 days. It changed my life for the better... They have the best theripest that work with you individually and in group,. This is where I found myself again.. I have been sober for 6 months now thanks to simple path and all their great employees that really care about you and build you up for your next chance at life... This is the place to start your new journey in life."


Allison W.

"Amazing program! Very life changing and caring-people! Simple-Path saved my life."


Chase D.

"I attended Simple Path in June of 2019. I had never tried to get sober and I never went to treatment before. I was scared and vulnerable. I immediately felt safe at Simple Path. In the IOP the therapists listened to me, like actually heard and genuinely cared about me. They not only helped me on my path to sobriety but they also helped me immensely with my trauma. God willing I'll have 16 months on the 1st. I couldn't have done it without all the love and care from Simple Path. Thank you to Cathy, Heidi, Carrie, Emily, Sammy Jo and Ian!"


Vanessa

Jack’s journey began when he arrived at Simple Path to get clean and sober. He never thought he could deal with his anxiety and depression without using drugs. Group and one-on-one therapy empowered him to deal with his problems and get better. Going strong at his one-year anniversary, Jack is in a very good place.


Jack

"This place is great. I have nothing but the best to say about simple path I would definitely recommend it to anyone. I never thought recovery was possible before I came hear but I now have 8 months of sobriety. The staff was very helpful and I learned a lot from the groups."


Devin C.

"Simple path gave me a second chance at the life I was always meant to have... and a second, and a third. If you really want to get sober Simple Path will arm you with the knowledge to do so. 90% of all the staff at housing and clinical are in recovery with substantial time. By far the best experiences of my life were at Simple Path Recovery. Shout out to Matt, Stevie, Pete, Carrie, Adam, and Derick. I love each and every one of you guys."


Davey R.

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