Author Affiliations: Services Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse (Drs Chandler and Fletcher); and National Institute on Drug Abuse (Dr Volkow), Bethesda, Maryland.
Despite increasing evidence that addiction is a treatable disease of the brain, most individuals do not receive treatment. Involvement in the criminal justice system often results from illegal drug-seeking behavior and participation in illegal activities that reflect, in part, disrupted behavior ensuing from brain changes triggered by repeated drug use. Treating drug-involved offenders provides a unique opportunity to decrease substance abuse and reduce associated criminal behavior. Emerging neuroscience has the potential to transform traditional sanction-oriented public safety approaches by providing new therapeutic strategies against addiction that could be used in the criminal justice system. We summarize relevant neuroscientific findings and evidence-based principles of addiction treatment that, if implemented in the criminal justice system, could help improve public heath and reduce criminal behavior.
Chandler RK, Fletcher BW, Volkow ND. Treating Drug Abuse and Addiction in the Criminal Justice SystemImproving Public Health and Safety. JAMA. 2009;301(2):183-190. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.976