Drug charges in South Carolina can drastically change a person’s life with prison sentencing, loss of a job and even the difficulty of finding a new job. As the opioid crisis worsens in the United States, government agencies are providing more funding to help people addicted to abusive substances be better educated about the side effects of drugs and learn how to recover from addiction.

Individuals take opioids for a number of reasons, including chronic pain relief and recreational use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the opioid crisis results in 130 American deaths each day from an opioid overdose. That number, which is six times higher than the 1999 data, results from illegal opioids such as heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and prescription opioids provided by doctors for pain.

Addiction is not a crime and trying drug charges in a traditional criminal court may not be the most effective answer. The National Institute of Justice established drug courts as a way to fairly try people charged with drug crimes and other dependency issues. The courts are based on a combination of risk assessment, drug screening, rehabilitation services and treatment options to serve people brought up on charges.

In these courts, a person may receive a fair hearing that takes addiction into consideration and receive the necessary help to end the reliance on abusive substances. According to the NIJ, the result of these specialized drug courts is a lower re-arrest rate and more successful treatment plans put into action with the help of treatment professionals, social workers, judges and defense attorneys.