Drug addiction can have a devastating impact on the lives of those affected, as well as on the lives of their families. Those who succumb to drug addiction tend to become obsessed with the drug they are taking, and they will go to great lengths to get their hands on it. This can lead to tension within the family unit, and relationships are often damaged beyond repair.
Illegal drugs are also devastating on both mental and physical health. While all chemical substances can damage health, some have a much greater impact than others. Take crystal meth, for example. This deadly drug can completely change the physical appearance of those who take it â€“ and in a very short space of time.
A crystal meth addict in Oregon has made headlines after appearing in court earlier this week. Matthew Joseph Medlin has spent much of the last fifteen years in and out of prison, but it was his physical appearance that shocked the nation. After being arrested countless times over the past fifteen years, police have more than a dozen mugshots on file that show his dramatic spiral into addiction. With each mugshot, his appearance worsens, and the latest photo shows him with a scabbed and tattooed face. He looks much older than his thirty-two years.
Medlin, who lives on the streets, was recently arrested after police found him injecting crystal meth in a rail yard in Portland. Although he could have been sent to prison for two-and-a-half years, the judge decided to impose a sixty-day sentence with three yearsâ€™ probation. He was also offered a place on a new addiction treatment programme. He will spend 120-days getting intensive treatment for his addiction, and he will also receive treatment for mental health issues as it is suspected he suffers from schizophrenia.
Medlin has tried to get clean in the past, but it is believed that his homeless situation affected his ability to overcome addiction. His attorney said, â€œI think he’s struggled all his adult life with mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness. And now we got a chance to address all three of those issues in one shot. If we can do this, I think we’re all going to be better off.â€
Treating Addiction as an Illness
Law officials both here in the UK and in the US have often been accused of exacerbating the problem of drug addiction by treating it as a crime rather than an illness. There have been calls for the possession of illegal drugs to be decriminalised so that those with addiction issues can get the help they need to overcome their illnesses.
Many drug addicts will not reach out for help for fear of being prosecuted, and all too often, those found in possession of small amounts of drugs find themselves facing the full weight of the law. Campaigners believe that these people should be encouraged to seek help and be assisted with treatment rather than being punished.
Some think that putting drug addicts behind bars often makes the situation much worse in the long term. Many individuals are exposed to much harder drugs while they are in prison, and they will find it tough to gain employment upon release. It also has a devastating impact on the family as a whole. Family members often struggle both emotionally and financially when one member is imprisoned.
Addiction is an illness that affects the brain and changes the way it functions. Thankfully treatment centres like Recovery Lighthouse offer effective treatments for those who are struggling with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Contact us for more information on how we can help.
- Â Man’s 28 Mugshots Track Descent into Meth Addiction (Daily Mail)