Treating meth addicts, not jailing them, is the best answer to fighting a growing problem in Muskogee.

Officials and addicts agree that jail does not cure the addiction.

Muskogee County Special District judge Robin Adair says in-patient rehabilitation has a 60 percent chance of success while jail has only a 10 percent chance of an addict getting control over his or her addiction.

Adair says 90 percent of addicts jailed for drug use get out of jail and go right back into the lifestyle. Sixty percent of drug court graduates in Muskogee County’s program stay clean.

Drug rehabilitation also saves taxpayers thousands of dollars per year per inmate.

Muskogee County Council of Youth Services (MCCOYS) handles adult drug court participants. Traci Riddle, the program director there, says it costs $10,000 per year to incarcerate an addict. It costs about $2,000 per year for rehabilitation.

And some in-patient rehabilitation doesn’t cost taxpayers.

Mark Seabolt’s Faith-Based Therapeutic Community Corporation is entirely funded by the men who are clients, who work full-time jobs and pay for rent and food.

Rehab facilities such as Seabolt’s are few and far between, however. There also is a facility for women in Hulbert.

Muskogee County drug court officials should watch the success rate of these facilities closely. If the numbers hold up, the city and county should help invest in programs such as these to curb addiction.

Rehabilitation should not be considered a free pass by addicts, either. Many addicts have committed crimes such as burglary to feed their habits.

They owe a debt to society and should be forced to make good on that debt. If they offend twice, rehab over jail should no longer be an option.

First-time, non-violent offenders deserve a chance to complete rehab.

It is best for them and best for society.

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