Like many Southern California cities, Riverside is fighting a battle against the ongoing drug epidemic that has the whole state and the country at large in its grip. Some days are harder than others, but at the end of last month, Riverside Police Department had a big win in the form of a three-month long undercover investigation that culminated in 23 arrests and the takedown of a major drug trafficking ring.
City Councilman Mike Gardner reported to the press that undercover agents bought “drugs that will kill you” from the arrestees, such as cocaine, meth, and heroin.
There was, however, frustration on the part of some police officers when it was discovered that a person who was arrested as part of the sting operation had been released from custody just hours before the bust took place.
Sergio Diaz is a Riverside police chief involved in the investigation. He says: “When someone is on supervised release, the expectation is that they will refrain from committing further crimes. When you hear a story like this, where a guy is out for two hours and is slinging dope, it is somewhat demoralizing.”
Yes, it is demoralizing—not just for police officers but for the man’s family and likely for the man himself. It is not easy to live with an untreated addiction, and those who are incarcerated and given no treatment will almost always relapse upon release unless they immediately head into a drug addiction treatment program.
Is your loved one stuck in the revolving door of the criminal justice system due to an untreated drug use disorder?
When your loved one is caught in the cycle of drug use, arrest, incarceration, and re-arrest, it is important to create and maintain boundaries. You need to be sure that you and others in your family are safe physically, emotionally, and economically.
For example, when your loved one is in lockup, it may be a good idea to:
- Limit phone calls. They get expensive, and they make the rest of the family feel like they are doing the time as well.
- Limit visits. Depending on how close your loved one is, your work schedule, and when visits are available, you may want to only go occasionally. It is important that you have time to yourself and do not spend all your free time and money on getting there, waiting for the visit, and getting back.
- Send books on recovery. Your loved one will have plenty of downtime while incarcerated, and reading is popular, even if they do not usually read at home. Send books from publishers approved by the prison according to their directions. Choose ones that are positive, uplifting, and focused on getting healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically without drugs and alcohol.
- Set up a plan in advance. When your loved one is nearing their release date, plan what will happen in advance. Ask them to enter a drug treatment program, and if they agree, set it up so they can enter immediately. You can do the groundwork to secure them a bed in an inpatient program or a spot in an outpatient treatment program, so they can go straight from prison into treatment and begin the healing process.
Once you have given yourself the time you need to heal on your own terms while your loved one is away and created boundaries that will help your loved one break the cycle of addiction, it is important to stand firm. Upon release, expect your loved one to maintain their commitments, and be prepared to follow through on promises you made to help them get into treatment as well. If your loved one chooses to return to their old life on the streets, you must make it clear that while you love them, you cannot support them in active addiction. Tell them that you will always be there to assist them if they would like to seek treatment.
Are you ready to learn more about treatment programs that will help your loved one turn their life around? Whether your loved one is incarcerated or not, if active addiction is a chronic issue, now is the time to learn more about how to start the healing process.