Like other chronic diseases, addiction may have a range of adverse effects on people’s bodies and lives. Unlike other persistent conditions, however, addiction may result in people facing serious criminal charges. Fortunately for those facing drug-related offenses in South Carolina, the state offers a drug court program, which may help them overcome their disease and move forward. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use may cause impaired self-control, judgment and decision-making. Due to the brain changes that occur due to the use of drugs over time, people may compulsively and uncontrollably seek ongoing use. Some of the effects of drug use on the brain may lessen or dissipate over time, while others may persist or affect people permanently. Although a relapsing disease, research indicates that people may treat and control addiction using behavioral therapy and addiction treatment medicines. 

According to the Solicitor’s Office for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, the state’s drug court program offers addiction treatment and rehabilitative services to those with drug or alcohol addictions who face charges for nonviolent offenses. During the program, which lasts a minimum of 18 months, eligible participants must attend therapy sessions, submit to drug tests, work or go to school full-time, and participate in self-help programs. In exchange for avoiding incarceration, participants must strictly adhere to the program rules, follow through with all the treatment recommendations and obey all laws. 

Upon the successful completion of the drug court program, the court dismisses participants’ charges. Should they fail to complete drug court, people may once again face the charges and associated penalties for which they entered the program.