I remember my first day of sobriety. Cold, shaking in a cell on a concrete bed with a vinyl covered mattress and an itchy blanket. I remember my first week. Defiant and manipulative in complete denial. I remember my first month. Frantically awaiting my readiness hearing. Lost, confused, contemplating whether or not I truly had a problem with drugs and alcohol. Three months of dead time went by and I was released back to my old stomping grounds with no tools, no support group and absolutely no foundation for a successful life without drugs and alcohol.

As you have probably already guessed I spent the first few months of my sobriety in custody as many chemically dependent individuals do. Experiencing dead time and then being released to my own devices was gearing me towards becoming more deviant rather than sober minded. Instead of understanding my addiction and my relapse triggers from drug and alcohol counselors, I learned how to cross my arms and close my mouth from deputy probation officers.

According to the Bureau of Prisons, 48.6 percent of people are incarcerated in federal prisons and 53% in state prisons, solely for drug offenses. That’s half of prison populations who are receiving limited drug and alcohol treatment or none at all. In addition, The US Department of Health and Human Services stated in their National Treatment Improvement Study: “Treatment appears to be cost effective, particularly when compared to incarceration.” Unfortunately a finding by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that as many as 90 percent of people who most need drug rehab do not receive it. So, why is there a contradiction and divide between the solution of drug treatment and the reality that many aren’t receiving it?

Not to mention that those who don’t receive treatment often return back into custody. According to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 74% of drug abusers return to custody for a new drug related crime. With an estimated 2,224,400 inmates in federal, state and local prisons who need treatment and aren’t receiving it, this seems to be more than a crisis…this is a public health catastrophe. The goal of treatment is to stop the abuse of drugs and alcohol, rebuild and strengthen families and communities, equip clients to return to their workplaces with the life skills necessary to succeed in a life of recovery.

Here at Genesis Recovery that’s what we strive for. While the world continues to find a solution within itself, we hold strong to a spiritual and clinical solution. As an employee of Genesis Recovery, I have seen broken marriages blossom back into honeymoons, families reconcile after years of separation, hardworking professionals return back to pick up their place in society with integrity. The miracle and blessing among the battle between incarceration and treatment is that our Clinicians here at Genesis Recovery are available for inmate assessment’s to bridge the gap and get those who need drug treatment the opportunity to do so. This is what separate’s us from other treatment facilities and your decision for a treatment experience with us is what breaks the chains of statistics.

By Naveed Etemadipour