Drug Crimes: Where Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Law Intersect

When the average person hears about someone charged with a drug crime, it is not uncommon for their reaction to be something along the lines of “who in their right mind would do that?” But, of course, the answer is almost no one in their right mind would put themselves in a position to be charged with drug possession, drug manufacturing, and drug trafficking.

In their right mind” is the key phrase.

Many drug offenses have an addiction and other mental health issues at their foundation. People addicted to a drug are at higher risk of making poor decisions and putting themselves in bad situations. Likewise, people suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are more likely to develop a drug addiction. It is a vicious cycle that all too often.

Defense lawyers must address the full scope of their client’s issues. In addition to limiting exposure to criminal penalties such as prison time, fines, and probation, it is essential to seek outcomes that address the underlying issues plaguing their clients. For example, a plea agreement that incorporates a drug program can help clients lessen their criminal penalties and provide the tools to break the vicious cycle of addiction.

At Harris & Literski, we often view our role as that of attorneys who are also acting in the capacity of social workers. We consider it our responsibility to achieve the best outcomes for our clients as people, not just as cases.