The typical narrative about people who get arrested for drug use often goes something like this: he liked to party, she hung out with the wrong crowd, they were always pushing boundaries. While this can be true of some people, many others end up addicted due to the influence of several types of health factors.
Drug use and mental illness
Medical practitioners increasingly recognize that many sufferers of mental illnesses such as depression try to treat their symptoms with alcohol or various types drugs. While, obviously, seeing a mental health professional would be the preferable option, people have varied and complex reasons for not doing so. Some cannot afford the fees or take time off for appointments. Others may not recognize the symptoms of mental illness as such and believe that they are just feeling a bit anxious or upset.
The problem is that taking the drugs only blunts the symptoms for a short while, causing them to later return even more viciously. This, in turn, leads to taking greater quantities of the drug. This addiction cycle can be very hard to break.
Some people get addicted to drugs through trying to treat physical symptoms such as chronic pain. In fact, many addictions start after a person gets a prescription for pain medication and finds that he or she cannot do without it even after the prescription runs out.
Best ways to address drug use as treatment mechanism
It is important for legal professionals and courts to recognize the strong link between illness and illegal drug use. Some states, including Florida, have made strides towards this recognition by setting up drug courts that focus on treatment rather than on criminal punishment. Drug courts do have several criteria in place to determine eligibility, typically based on the number of prior drug offenses, the quantity of the drug and the willingness of the defendant to comply with treatment programs.
When advocating for admission to a drug court program, it is essential to understand the factors that caused the addiction in the first place. Someone who is attempting to treat an underlying condition will likely not benefit from a traditional program that focuses solely on ending the addictive behavior. This is because even though the addiction may combated, the illness and its symptoms will still be there, making likely a return to using drugs for treatment. Effective treatment for such a patient means getting appropriate care for the underlying condition along with substance abuse treatment.
If you are being charged with drug use, an awareness of all the factors involved can help you get the assistance you need. Consulting an experienced defense attorney is the best way to learn about possible legal options.