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There is a media perception that drug addicts are dirty, toothless bums living on the streets and scrounging for spare change for their next fix. While that certainly is true of some of the worst addicts, it is not true of all who struggle with addiction to illegal drugs.

There are more functional addicts out there than people realize because they successfully conceal their addictions from nearly everyone in their lives. Spouses, parents, siblings, friends, bosses and children of addicts all may be oblivious that there is a deepening problem. This can be especially true if the drug of choice is legally prescribed to them by their doctor.

Compartmentalizing their lives hides addiction

An addict who is determined to keep his addiction hidden becomes particularly adept at compartmentalizing his life. This reduces the chances that problems in one sector of the addict’s life will bleed over into another and increase the risk that the addiction will be revealed.

This, of course, requires a level of secrecy on the addict’s part that is unhealthy but necessary to avoid detection.

Hiding in plain sight

One addict with a long-term addiction to ice, a form of methamphetamine, denies ever stealing for his next fix, stating, “I’m sick of the media’s perception that all meth addicts are down and outs with teeth missing who don’t feed their kids and steal from everyone.”

Having the resources to afford the drugs can keep an addict functional for an indefinite period of time. The above addict earned a good salary of more than $100k per year, yet had debts of $80k and estimates he has spent at least $200k buying meth. He has nothing to show for it, however, but regrets.

An arrest can reveal the dark secret

An addict’s long free-fall can be stopped abruptly with an arrest. That can be the silver lining of a very dark cloud. Of course, that doesn’t mean that an addict deserves to serve a prison sentence because they are struggling with a drug problem.

The government has done woefully little to provide recovery assistance and affordable treatment programs for addicts. Even addicts with insurance can quickly max out lifetime substance abuse treatment caps which can leave them without the assistance they require to stop using drugs permanently.

Turning to the courts for help

If your drug arrest made it perfectly clear to you and others that you are facing a critical problem, it might be possible to seek help from the criminal court system. The courts are slowly realizing that treatment must be an element of any punitive court action if they want the addict to remain off drugs.

Especially if you were arrested on a non-violent first offense for drug possession, your Memphis criminal defense attorney may be able to arrange for you to enter a treatment program in lieu of a conviction and jail sentence.