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Incarceration is not always the best way to handle drug crimes

Addictions take a toll on families, friends and -- especially -- the individual who suffers from it. In the vast majority of cases, many of those addicted to drugs need help more than they need to be incarcerated for drug crimes. Getting the help they need could require the services of a compassionate Illinois criminal defense attorney.

The way that drugs affect the brain, individuals often have incredible difficulty overcoming an addiction. Even if they took drugs of their own accord the first time, eventually it became a compulsion they were unable to control. After a while, the drugs take over, and the ability to resist them often disappears because getting the next "fix" is all that matters.

Even if an individual knows that his or her behavior is destructive, the body continues to require more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same high. Family and friends eventually realize that significant changes have occurred in the individual, but no efforts to help may succeed. For many people, it is not until confronted with law enforcement and the potential consequences of a criminal conviction that they are willing to consider getting help.

However, Illinois police and prosecutors often become caught up in merely moving people through the criminal justice system and sometimes forget they are dealing with fragile human lives. A criminal defense attorney who regularly represents people accused of drug crimes can often see when what the client needs is help, not jail time. Working in the system, the lawyer may be aware of diversionary programs that allow an addict to receive the much needed help and new lease on life that treatment could provide.

Source: drugabuse.gov, "Understanding Drug Use and Addiction", Accessed on June 5, 2017

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