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Diversion programs, rehabilitation and drug crimes

The rise of the opioid crisis and the revelations about our national drug policy’s impact on poor communities and communities of color has meant a radical shift in thinking on drug crime. This is directly related to North Carolina’s shift toward alternatives to incarceration after a drug crime occurs. If you or your loved one is a non-violent offender and do not have a criminal history, you may be able to take these alternative routes toward healing rather than jail.

What is a diversion program?

Diversion programs intervene in cases before a trial or verdict happens. They are meant to offer opportunities for reeducation and growth. Programs like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and other rehabilitation-focused initiatives are making substantial headway, especially as the current pandemic leads to increased addiction issues.

If an accused person fulfills a set of education, medical and mental health requirements, they can avoid trial and the courts will treat the charge as though it never happened. As North Carolina gives courts more and more discretion to help rather than punish people with addiction, many judges and others are embracing these interventions.

Does court-ordered rehabilitation work?

For many families and individuals, court-ordered rehab programs can seem like a stretch. After all, if your loved one hasn’t responded to other treatments, why would this be any different. However, National Institute on Drug Abuse research shows that court-ordered treatment impose a vital structure to people’s lives and can help addicts find critical support structure for recovery. They can make a difference.