Blue Line


March 4, 2016  By Noah Sandberg

The U.S. presidential election has been shining a light on the drug addiction epidemic in America, especially in states like New Hampshire, where the problem is particularly acute and the scourge of addiction is consistently in the news. Along with this coverage are stories about new and innovative approaches to stemming the flow of drug supply, rehabilitation and in one case, a program that seeks to impact relapse after treatment. 90% of addicts who attend rehab programs will relapse at least once. However, no overarching concept in addressing addiction, and the behaviors it fosters, shows more promise than the current expression of political will to classify addiction as a disease.

Every year, millions are arrested for drug related crimes. As that number increases, the burden of these crimes grows heavier on taxpayers, families, victims and law enforcement. But, while classifying addiction as a disease is an important step, and making rehabilitation more available is key, the failure of contemporary rehab facilities and methods is creating a revolving door for too many addicts. Now, there’s a pair of potential solutions to the two-fold problem of providing more access to treatment programs and getting better outcomes from those programs – the establishment of so-called “drug courts” and the use of innovative facilities like Recovery Unplugged.

“Drug court” programs are court-supervised dockets that deal with non-violent, drug abusing offenders within adult, juvenile, family and tribal justice systems. They help many communities offer recovery options – rather than impose jail time – for people arrested for drug related crimes.

The U.S. legal system is starting to lean towards court ordered drug rehab rather than incarceration because alcohol and drug addiction is now being considered a disease by the American Medical Association. Consequently, a U.S. Department of Corrections program has become successful in allowing addicts to seek help via court ordered drug rehab facility rather than serving time.


Recovery Unplugged® is a Fort Lauderdale, FL addiction rehabilitation facility that uses music in an array of forms as its key, differentiating modality. The center combines traditional and cognitive behavioral approaches that use music in a variety of ways as a catalyst to break down defenses, inspire, and motivate the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety.

Music therapy in drug rehab is becoming well established mainly because it is effective for a wide range of people. People from every demographic are able to connect with some kind of music in a therapeutic way because of music’s diversity and ability to communicate on a deep, emotional level – and one that complements traditional therapeutic practices.

Traditional cognitive and talk therapies centered on 12-step concepts are crucial. However, they can be prone to repetition and dwindling effect for patients that are in treatment for the second, third, or possibly even more number of times. The fact that the vast majority of patients are re-admits is rarely factored into their individual treatment plans and leaves them prone to the same treatment methods that were previously ineffective. By incorporating music therapy in drug rehab, there is new dialog for the patients to express, reflect, and understand their disease and gain profound new insight into their emotions and behaviors.

Using music therapy in drug rehab could create a drastic shift in treatment effectiveness. According to the AMTA (2015), drug rehab with music therapy helps manage withdrawal symptoms, develop new coping skills, assists clients in exploring their thoughts/emotions underlying addiction, improve relationships with others, and addresses emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of recovery. Some of the techniques used to address these goal areas include songwriting, improvisation, song discussion, participatory music groups, music and imagery, and a musical background is not required. Programs like Recovery Unplugged represent important options for drug court judges, addicts and their families.

Recovery Unplugged has now posted an easy to understand description of how drug court works, on its website The facility’s legal team also offers a wide range of services to assist addicts, attorneys, and families with court cases. Drug courts that recognize the individual needs of offenders, as well as the differences in rehabilitation programs like Recovery Unplugged present an important new tool in the battle against addiction.

The criteria for completing a drug court program includes being drug and arrest-free for a period of time and meeting numerous other obligations such as securing employment and housing. Participants meet with a judge or other court officer and the clinical staff of a drug treatment facility that monitors their process on a consistent basis. The court grants rewards or places sanctions based on how participants follow the rules of the court.

Those who are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses are more likely to re-offend and are more likely to be unemployed upon being released from prison. This supports the claim that incarcerating non-violent offenders leads to a cyclic burden on society that drains resources to house, feed, monitor, sentence, and re-arrest offenders.

Drug court programs have proven to be an effective tool that positively impact offenders, their families, and the community. It is a rigorous curriculum but, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) “75% of drug court graduates stay out of handcuffs for the rest of their lives.”

About Recovery Unplugged

Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Center is a Florida-based facility that offers a rehabilitation approach that is unique and long lasting. The center combines elements of evidence-based substance use treatment (e.g., cognitive behavioral, 12-step facilitation) with music based treatment as a catalyst to break down defenses, inspire, and motivate the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety. Through its music-based treatment, Recovery Unplugged is committed to instilling hope and relief from addiction to individuals all over the United States.

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