Many of those accused of crimes involving drugs and alcohol choose to roll the dice and face jail or prison, rather than embrace a healthy sober lifestyle when advised to do so by their attorneys and the Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange County courts. High end rehabs can be a cushy alternative to jail. However, low income alternative sentencing facilities often require living in close quarters with an emotionally challenging cast of surly characters. Sometimes the sentencing alternatives are not much easier to navigate than jail.
According to professional defense attorney, Mary Masi, the measure of a society is to a degree reflected by how its children, elderly and other vulnerable people are treated under the law. In the modern world, society is also measured by the character and prevalence of its crimes and misdemeanors. Without a doubt, drug and alcohol related crimes such as DUI, possession of drugs, and fraud, are the most prevalent today. Evidence of the trend is reflected in recent newsworthy cases discussed below.
Outlaws used to rob banks and railroad cars, but in October of 2010 a pharmaceutical truck was robbed by two men with automatic weapons. The driver was kidnapped and later released after the robbers escaped with narcotics including vicodin and OxyContin, a painkiller thought of as synthetic heroin. The crimes they are a changin'.
Also in October 2010, 52 people were arrested in connection with organized crime racketeering involving Medicare fraud. Some of them may face allegations of forged perscription sales, and the illegal distribution ofOxyContin. Racketeering for phony prescription pharmaceuticals? This is a cultural wake-up call without a snooze option.
In August of 2010, a Rowland Heights, California osteopath was reportedly under investigation for prescribing powerful painkillers to patients who did not have a medical condition warranting the drugs. According to coroner's files and interviews, at least eight of her patients have died from overdoses of the same type of drugs that she had prescribed.
Since the 1960s pop culture has reflected a degree of "cool" rebellion in the illegal use of drugs and excessive use of alcohol to get high. The trend spread too many young teens who routinely experiment with mood altering activities. Perhaps the saddest of these is the self-imposed choking asphyxiation game. It is no secret that kids are dying from the brain damage it causes. In November 2010, a Winnebago County court sentenced Joseph Lango, 44 to 18 months in prison for allegedly teaching three young boys to play the "choking game." Kids who teach other kids to play the game could also potentially face criminal charges if someone dies or gets hurt. In Wheat Ridge, Colorado a teenager was criminally charged with reckless endangerment when she performed the choking game on her friend Gabrielle Abuzhara, who suffered a broken sinus, lower eye socket, and had to get seven stitches for the gash above her eye. The game is nothing short of an outright horror for our schools and society. What can be done to define "cool" as knowing how to feel good vs. artificially getting high?
It is believed that there are more lasting alternatives to using drugs, alcohol, and oxygen deprivation, to soothe the oversized human brain. Bases on feedback gathered by attorney Masi by professionals in the field of addiction recovery, exercise is important. It can enhance recovery from various addictions according to John J Ratey, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ratey authored the book "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain." When asked his professional opinion of the impact of exercise as a treatment enhancement for alcoholism and addiction he stated:
"Be clear. My analysis of the findings and testimonies and stories make it clear that exercise can play a huge role in the initial withdrawal, the initial and prolonged dealing with cravings, and offer a substitute activity addiction, like AA to help repopulate the frontal cortex choices of what and how to respond to eventual stressful situations, and losses."
Statistically, Alcoholics Anonymous has the highest success rate in the long-term treatment of alcoholism and addiction. As an adjunct, it would appear to be a no-brainer that exercise and nutrition plays a role in treating the physical aspect of the mind, body, and soul malady. So, how exactly does a society make exercise and nutrition "cooler" than getting high?
Some high end rehabs already emphasize exercise as an important part of recovery. On a grand scale, there are rumblings out west about the creation of a new treatment center in Montana for professional athletes and anyone else interested in fitness and nutrition as a treatment enhancement. Montana Peaks Lodge hopes to build a 30,000 square foot indoor athletic training facility, and a separate on-site clinical facility.