Safest bet

Treatment efforts continue, but sometimes those addicted are best locked up, for their safety and yours

We as humans constantly want things.

It’s called instant gratification, which means the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay. You want something, and you want it now.

It’s basically the opposite of what many of us were taught — that anything worth having is worth working and waiting for.

Instant gratification is causing many negative problems in society. Perhaps one of the strongest patterns I witness is the need many people with addictions have for instant gratification— or in other words, the need for wanting something pleasurable immediately.

Many people feel they need to self-medicate. They feel a little down and have heard that smoking some marijuana can help. Then next thing you know, that same person is doing something with friends. They are not down, as they are having a wonderful time. Someone comes up with the idea that it’s going to instantly be so much better if they all smoke a joint.

The trouble with this behavior is the brain is now trying to figure out, “OK, under what circumstances do we need this? When I’m down, that stuff is cool. When I’m happy, that stuff’s cool?” Next thing you know, more is needed to get that feeling.

A number of years ago, I thought the best thing we could do at probation is to provide addictions treatment to offenders. Probation has two full-time addictions counselors who are also certified probation officers. We are doing educational groups for both men and women in jail and on probation. We also have a program dealing with heroin abusers.

A recent post on the Daily Reporter’s Facebook page asked people to speak out about the need for a new jail. Many people feel a new jail is not needed; however, they want substance abuse rehabilitation.

One problem is the current jail was just set up as a lock-up, and addictions treatment is difficult. Due to changes in the law, more offenders are required to be dealt with at the local level instead of the Indiana Department of Corrections. That’s why our jail is busting at the seams. We are doing some things, but without a doubt, more is needed and necessary.

People need to know that very few people are in jail for substance abuse that have not been given a chance. Most were on probation but refused to stop using drugs. At that point, we really have few options, so they end up back in jail.

I understand many people use various substances and don’t have an issue. However, in my opinion, a person who is faced with freedom or sobriety who chooses to abuse substances has a problem. A person who is intoxicated and stays at home, or makes sure someone else gets him safely home, is only harming himself.

However, when that person gets behind a wheel of a car or attacks someone, that’s when I feel lock-up is necessary. In 35 years I have had so many horrible memories of when a person chose to ignore his or her knowledge in treatment and continue to be a danger.

We never know which one is going to do the stupid deadly thing. So, locking those up is saving other citizens on the highway. Not sure about everyone else, but when it comes to the safety of my daughter on the highway, that addicted individual who thinks only of himself — well, knowing that person is incarcerated makes me feel better.

I am trying to expand the treatment options we have available, but I feel we need to be able to incarcerate those people who cannot control their addiction and prove to be a safety threat to our community. When a person is addicted to a substance, he or she is not able to control the use of that substance. The person continues to use, even though it may cause harm.

Right now, heroin is the worst drug I’ve dealt with. Many people feel heroin makes you feel a million times better than the best day of your life. Your own brain turns on you, telling you, “We have to have more; nothing else matters.” It is so cheap, but oh so deadly.

The worthless drug dealers are constantly cutting heroin with other drugs just to get people a little better feeling. Fentanyl is a major cause of the current deaths. It’s 100 times more potent than demerol. Abusers know this, but the turncoat brain keeps saying, “We have to have it.”

As an officer of the court, I proudly confess my No. 1 job is to protect the citizens of Hancock County. I will do anything to help offenders regain control of their lives. I’ve succeeded thousands of times, but when a person continues to abuse, we won’t give up on him or her. That person may end up in the Hancock County Jail for his or her own safety, but more importantly for the safety of society.

Yes, treatment is needed, but don’t ever think we are not trying; the problem is some folks are not accepting.

Similarly, I have never understood how a person can take meth. Seriously, what level-headed person will say, “OK, I need some drain cleaner, a touch of brake fluid, a pinch of battery acid, let’s put a bunch of lighter fluid in there, shot of gasoline, some ether, freon, paint thinner and red lye for coloring”?

You would be surprised, because people know the ingredients and yet still consume this.

That’s why drug addicts are in jail. Believe me, we want them out so the cell space can be available for the drug dealers, but until they are able to be a safe member of society, incarcerated is where they should stay.

Wayne Addison is chief probation officer for the Hancock County Probation Department. Send comments to