People in recovery from drug addiction who are trying to rebuild their lives with criminal records hanging over their heads now have more options than ever. For instance, they can find employment with one of the hundreds of felon-friendly companies nationwide, or take necessary steps toward getting their records expunged.
If you are part of the ex-drug using community, you will have heard one or more of the following phrases, possibly many times:
“I have a disease that has me breaking out in handcuffs.”
“We’ll be signing court-cards after the meeting.”
“What are you in for?”
“Felony possession of narcotics.”
It’s no surprise when people suffering from various substance use disorders land in jail, and once you’re part of the criminal justice system, it’s difficult to ever truly be free of it. One of many unfortunate symptoms and side effects of addiction is incarceration, because although addiction is classified as a disease, the possession of narcotics is a punishable offense that often results in a misdemeanor or felony charge. Once someone is convicted of their first charge and entered into the system, a cycle is initiated.
After the person is released from jail or court-mandated treatment, they are often placed on probation, which means they will either be subject to check-ins and drug tests or can be searched when pulled over or stopped. If a police officer driving behind you runs your plates and your name comes up with probation or past convictions, you are far more likely to be pulled over. Because you are now more visible and increasingly vulnerable to searches and random drug tests, it is easier to get yet another drug charge. This can go on and on until someone becomes clean, or changes their identity (just kidding, don’t do that).
Emily J. Sullivan/The Fix