Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, at Addiction Hope
If you or a loved one has been addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is a possibility that you have also been involved with illegal issues. This can pertain to illegal use of drugs, illegally obtaining or selling drugs, financial issues, crimes and theft, DUIs and more.
For some individuals, achieving sobriety or enlisting in treatment may be avoided for fear of exposing these legalities or risking anonymity. Even if an addict is truly seeking and desiring recovery, involvement with legal issues can become an obstacle to treatment.
The Consequences Will Have to Be Faced
The reality is that legal issues and consequences cannot be avoided forever. Though it may seem effective to put-off important legal matters or to procrastinate treatment for this reason, your life is in jeopardy while an addiction is active.
Seeking treatment for substance abuse and addiction can be a matter of life and death for many individuals, and putting your life on the line is a tremendous risk to take. Whatever legal issues you may be involved in, it is crucial to know that you can come forward for treatment and still be protected.
The Protection of HIPAA
Addiction treatment centers and professionals are legally required to keep patient confidentiality under the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) law. This means that your health care provider is legally bound to protect your health information, and violation of this law can result in serious penalties.
Many treatment centers will offer a social worker or case manager as part of your treatment team, who can help you navigate through any legal issues you may be involved in. Even if there are issues you have not even addressed with, you can safely and securely work through legal issues with the assistance of professionals who have experience with this type of work.
Navigating Through Complicated Situations
Whatever you might be facing at this time of your life or as the result of an addiction, know that there is a way out. You may fear the severity of the consequences that have unfolded, but there is help for navigating through these complicated situations.
In the short-term, it may seem as though you are keeping yourself together, but in the long-term, you are only putting yourself and your life at risk. If you are not sure where to begin to unravel a legal mess and addiction, start by speaking with an addiction health specialist. By speaking out for yourself, you will take the first and important step towards healing and stability.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Legal issues may often arise as a result of addiction. How have you faced these concerns while in treatment?
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 13th, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com