Treating Substance Abuse

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According to a 2010 report by CASAColumbia (CASA) at Columbia University, 65 percent of all incarcerated people meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, yet only 11 percent of them get any treatment. Correctional agencies are actively seeking to close the gap in state in federal prisons between offender need for addiction treatment and program availability.

As you discovered in your unit readings on this subject, all is not lost. Correctional agencies and drug courts are considering new ways to implement substance abuse treatment programs and looking at improved therapies and treatment modalities. Tragically, the opioid epidemic has helped advance this conversation as public health officials, law enforcement, and the treatment community across the country seek funding to support nationwide programs to address these urgent problems.


For this discussion, respond to the following:

  • Compare and contrast pharmacological and cognitive-behavioral treatment approaches to the problem of substance abuse.
  • Explain how the continuity of care perspective and interagency collaboration makes sense on theoretical grounds in the treatment of substance abuse.
  • Discuss the effect of aftercare on offenders released into their communities.

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