Amid the ongoing opioid crisis tightening its grip on the United States, it seems more women are falling prey to drug addiction. The disturbing trend has resulted in an alarming rise in the number of women being incarcerated for drug-related crimes. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of women behind the bars for drug possession or use increased from 13,258 in 1980 to 102,300 in 2016. Further, though the arrest rate for women for drug use or possession tripled between 1980 and 2009, it only doubled in case of men.
According to experts, putting women behind the bars worsens the situation, as jails do not have any counseling or drug abuse programs to help inmates get rid of their addiction and attain sobriety. On the other hand, prisons become a suitable platform for these women to expand their network and get easy access to illicit drugs. Even those who did not abuse drugs before their arrest develop an addiction in the company of other inmates.
While the situation is more or less similar across the country, Appalachia region is hit hard by the problem. In the Campbell County Jail, there were hardly 10 women over a decade ago. Now, the population has gone up to around 60. Most of them are nabbed on drug charges. Adding to their woes are other problems, such as dearth of psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and affordable rehab centers in the rural areas of the region.
Families are falling apart
In recent times, more women are getting addicted to harmful substances, and indulging in drug trafficking. As a result, families are falling apart, and children are growing without the love and affection of their mothers (who are in jail serving sentences). Also, there is a considerable rise in the overall crime rates.
Addiction in case of women is different from that in men. Due to different biological aspects, women tend to develop a quicker dependence on illicit drugs compared to men. Also, they report problems of greater severity and heightened health-related consequences. And in case of women, the repercussion of addiction is not restricted to health risks only. Abuse of illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine or marijuana increases their vulnerability to sexual assault, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
However, an increasing number of women are getting addicted to drugs primarily due to their ignorance. Apart from facing subjugation, women also experience negligence in terms of their health concerns. If they suffer from a mental disorder or addiction, they are subjected to social shame, and prejudices that crop up from the stigma prevailing in the society.
Medical help for addiction can benefit society at large
Owing to the preconceived notion and prevailing stigma, only a few women seek timely medical help for their addiction problems. Others resort to home remedies or opt for methods like over-the-counter medicines and sharing of prescription drugs, which often lead to the development of addiction. Hence, the need of the hour demands every woman to recognize her worth and fight for rights that include proper health care. They should step out and seek treatment from one of the best drug addiction rehab facilities that offer drug abuse help without any discrimination.
If your loved one has been charged with a drug-related offense, Sovereign Court Services can help. Sovereign Health’s Court Services Division assists such people get permission to attend a drug rehab program in lieu of a jail term. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-439-7698 to know more about our services and benefit from them. Our representatives will offer immediate assistance.