Rory was punished for his illness
Many people with substance use disorder end up involved with the criminal justice system, where they are typically subject to an approach that is punitive, rather than health-promoting.
A week after his 18th birthday, Rory got a DUI and possession charge. We finally got help finding state-funded treatment, but we had no idea that he would spend the next 11 years trying to get out of the criminal justice system. He was mandated to treatment repeatedly, but the programs never addressed his underlying issues, which now included coping with the grief of losing so many friends to accidents and overdoses.
In the criminal justice system. positive drug tests were considered failure and non-compliance, and resulted in punitive consequences. Violations meant jail and prison, which added trauma to his substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD and grief. Medications for opioid use disorder were discouraged or considered a temporary replacement that would eventually need to end. As he continued in the system, the worse his symptoms seemed to be. He was a commercial fisherman, the only thing he was truly passionate about, but he was not allowed to fish because of the risk of using substances on long fishing trips. He was so tired of it all.
He was treated like a criminal for nothing more than the symptoms of his illness.