By Staff Writer
Many communities across the country are working to establish drug courts to give individuals who have committed non-violent drug offenses a chance to seek help from rehab programs rather than go to jail. However, some areas still do not have these options and force addicts to go through withdrawal while they are in prison, which can be difficult.
Ron Dubois, a former professor at Oklahoma State University, recently wrote in the Tulsa World that this reflects a profound misunderstanding of addiction on the part of society at large. He said that the medical community has long recognized addiction as a mental health issue, but much of the general public still views the matter as a moral failing.
He added that the state of Oklahoma has the highest suicide rates among prison inmates in the country in large part because laws in the state dictate that addicts be forced to go “cold turkey” off their drugs.
The majority of prisoners who commit suicide have a history of drug or alcohol addiction, according to the John Howard Society.