DEATH BY DRUG OVERDOSE
In 2014, 125 Americans died every day from drug overdoses. This is according to an article published in the New York Times. These deaths are being fueled by an “explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin[,]” and the death toll is being compared to the HIV epidemic of the late 1980’s.
New Hampshire is being hit particularly hard by this epidemic. 326 people died from drug overdoses in that state in 2014. These deaths are linked to both heroin and fentanyl. Fentanyl is a painkiller 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Fentanyl plays a big role in death from overdoses in New Hampshire. That’s because many of the drug dealers lace heroin with fentanyl. This makes it more difficult for medical professionals to revive a person who has overdosed on fentanyl laced heroin.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
NPR is also reporting that employers are struggling to deal with employees who abuse prescription drugs. It seems that people get prescription painkillers from their health care providers for an injury they suffered–and then develop an addiction to opiods without realizing they are addicted.
ARRESTS FOR DRUG POSSESSION
The increase in drug use has also lead to more people being arrested and charged with drug possession. This raises an important question: How should the criminal justice system deal with a defendant who is dealing with substance abuse?
Bexar County probation has several programs for people with substance abuse issues. This includes Felony Drug Court, Substance Abuse Felony Treatment Facility (SAFPF), and intensive supervision (ISP).
The goal of these programs and conditions is to provide a defendant with treatment (rehab) so that person does not re-offend or relapse into drug use.
However, these programs have conditions that are substantially burdensome and onerous. Some of these conditions include submitting to random UA’s, inpatient treatment, and intensive supervision that may interfere with your work schedule, daycare availability, or both.
If a defendant violates one or more conditions imposed by the court, then the probation department files a motion to revoke probation (MTR) that could lead to more intense probation supervision or even prison time.
[Note–one of the most common probation violations I deal with are testing positive for cocaine, heroin, or meth. Other common violations are failing to report and committing a new offense.]
ARE THESE CONDITIONS RIGHT FOR ME?
These conditions may or may not be right for each offender. It is important to talk to your attorney before you enter a plea of guilty (assuming you do not want to fight the charge), so that your attorney can help you work through the probation system with as little pain as possible.
One potential option to explore is whether rehabilitation is available privately through your employer or insurance provider–this option may (most likely) provide for more individualized attention from your medical provider and a rehab program tailored to your situation.
Your attorney should work to learn the facts of your individual situation so that he can argue to the judge that it impose only the least-restrictive probation conditions to help you receive treatment and successfully complete your probation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM CHARGED WITH A DRUG OFFENSE?
Substance abuse is a deeply personal issue to deal with. If you are arrested for a drug offense and are dealing with substance abuse, then contact my office today for a free in-person consultation. Your consultation is protected by the attorney-client privilege and will remain confidential.