Is The Criminal Justice System Adding to the US Addiction Epidemic?
According to addiction recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, drug addiction is a disease, but all too often, the criminal justice system treats it as a crime. In Illinois, penalties for controlled-substance possession, manufacturing and delivery offenses range in seriousness from a low of a Class 3 felony (4 to 10 years in prison) to a high of a Class X felony (30 to 120 years in prison).
Because of the large number of people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, there is a movement to reform the system. Denis McDonough, chief of staff to President Barack Obama, says there’s a “fundamental injustice” to people serving life sentences for non-violent drug offenses. Even worse, people who get out of prison after serving time for drug offenses often wind up hardened, unable to find decent jobs and housing, and at increased risk to returning to drugs and committing additional crimes.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find. The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We offer a free consultation, so contact us today at 630-305-0222 and 312-388-7882.
What is Being Done About Addiction?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the prescription opioid epidemic the worst of its kind in U.S. history. As the opioid pain meds became scarce, heroin, a cheaper opioid began to take over the market. About 669,000 Americans reported using the drug in 2012, and the numbers are growing every year.
According to the Global Commission on Drugs, criminalization has created complex obstacles for people motivated to eliminate drug dependence to seek or obtain necessary health care and support. When public health options are made available, studies have reported dramatic declines in drug dependence, mortality and overdose. There are medical options and maintenance therapies, such as methadone, suboxone, and naloxone, that are effective for reducing drug dependence and addiction. Methadone maintenance has been cited as the primary intervention strategy for people with heroin addiction.
Scientists are doing studies to find out more about how addiction works. Researchers have found that the brain becomes conditioned by the repeated dopamine rush caused by heroin. The addiction involves genetic predisposition, corrupted brain chemistry, environmental factors and any number of potential mental-health disorders — it requires urgent medical intervention. According to the medical establishment, medication coupled with counseling is the most effective form of treatment for opioid addiction.
Community leaders seem to agree that an over-burdened criminal justice system should better address the growing epidemic of drug addiction, and some are taking action to try to change the situation. Illinois has passed the (730 ILCS 166/) Drug Court Treatment Act, recognizing that the use and abuse of drugs has a dramatic effect on the criminal justice system in Illinois, and creating specialized drug courts.
According to Sec. 20 of the Act, a defendant may be admitted into a drug court program upon the agreement of the defendant and with the approval of the court. However, there are reasons why the defendant can be excluded from a drug court program — such as having committed a violent crime or denying use of or addiction to drugs, or being unwilling to participate in treatment.
Indiana has instituted a Forensic Diversion Program which accepts people based on evaluations and input from judges. Participants receive group and individual therapy, including moral reconation therapy, or MRT. MRT is designed to help offenders recognize their thought patterns and the consequences of their actions. The evidenced-based method has proven to reduce recidivism. When the full year of forensic diversion is up, the offender will continue with probation for as long as sentenced.
What If I’m Arrested?
If you have been accused of a drug crime, the seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd can help. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain all elements and processes of the case and come up with an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Delaying can only make the situation worse. Put your trust in us, and contact us for help today if you have been accused of any criminal charges. Phone 630-305-0222 or 312-388-7882. Our Illinois drug crimes lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois. Your free initial consultation can be scheduled at either of our offices, located in Woodridge and Chicago.