Should Relapses be Criminalized?

TULSA, Oklahoma. Drug addiction is an illness, and it shouldn’t be a crime. This concept is not only supported by criminal defense lawyers, but it is also supported by some of the country’s leading medical organizations.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released a statement noting that research supports the brain disease model of addiction. Research has found that exposure to drugs and alcohol can significantly affect brain structures. Drugs and alcohol have also been found to affect brain processes associated with control, compulsive behavior, lack of flexibility, and negative emotions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is not the only organization that supports a disease approach to addiction. The American Medical Association and the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders all characterize addiction as a medical issue.

The medical interpretation of addiction, however, seems to directly counter the way America’s criminal justice system handles addiction. According to the New York Times, individuals are sent to jail if they test positive for drugs during their probations. According to the Times, the criminal justice policy of abstinence is “tantamount to mandating a medical outcome.” Telling a person to stop doing drugs as a condition of their probation is basically the same as telling a person with high cholesterol that lowering their cholesterol is a condition of their continued release. It just doesn’t make sense.

Yet, one person who was sent to jail after testing positive for drugs is trying to change things. Her case stands before the Massachusetts Supreme Court. The case will challenge requirements that ask individuals with substance use disorders to remain drug free as a condition of their probation.

The steps of addiction recovery are known to involve relapse as part of the process. Opioid addicts, for example, might relapse as many as 5 or 6 times before they become fully sober. Experts believe that the current criminalization of relapse can actually get in the way of individuals’ recovery. If individuals aren’t able to speak honestly and openly about their relapses, they may not be able to receive the help they need.

To make matters worse, many prisons deny opioid addicts access to prescription-based treatment to prevent relapse.

What can you do if you are struggling with addiction and are facing criminal charges? First of all, seek appropriate counsel. The Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. are criminal defense lawyers in Tulsa, Oklahoma who work closely with individuals facing drug charges or criminal charges. A strong lawyer can advocate for you, helping you get the treatment you need and possibly seeking treatment options over jail time or other punishments. The Henson Law Firm strongly believes that individuals struggling with addiction should receive help, not incarceration or further punishment. The war on drugs is a war on families and victims suffering from this devastating and deadly disease. If you are facing drug charges in Tulsa, Oklahoma, visit our firm at https://myoklahomadefenselawyer.com/ to learn more about your options and rights. We will fight for you.

THE HENSON LAW FIRM, PLLC

Attorneys and Counselors at Law

406 S. Boulder, Suite 400

Tulsa, OK 74103-3800

Telephone : (918) 551-8995

By |2018-06-25T18:18:41+00:00June 25th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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