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Help Denied: Woman Gets Sentenced to Jail After Drug Relapse

Friday Jul 13th, on Drug Crimes |

Many people who are addicted to drugs need help breaking their addiction. Unfortunately, in some cases, those who are suffering from addiction are not offered help but instead are at the mercy of the criminal justice system and could wind up being incarcerated.

This is why it is so important for those who are accused of wrongdoing involving drugs to talk with an Albany drug crime lawyer to fight for the best possible outcomes to serious charges.

Just recently, the New York Times provided an example of a situation where a woman who was addicted to drugs ended up being sent to jail for violating probation due to a drug relapse. The case ended up before the Supreme Court in Massachusetts.

What Happened?

According to the New York Times, the woman who ultimately ended up being jailed for a drug relapse initially was put on probation because she stole jewelry in order to purchase drugs. As a condition of her probation, she attended an intensive outpatient treatment program. She also chose to begin taking a medication called Suboxone, which can help to stop cravings for opioids.

However, despite her best efforts, she ended up snorting some fentanyl. She immediately regretted the relapse and she asked for a stronger dose of the Suboxone from her doctor, which was prescribed. The next two days, she was able to avoid using fentanyl. However, it was too late because she had the drug in her system. When she went to a drug test on the 11th day after her probation had begun, she tested positive for fentanyl and she was imprisoned because she violated the terms of her probation.

She was sent to a medium security facility where she spent a total of 10 days until her attorney was able to find her a placement in an in-house treatment program. During the time she was jailed, she didn't receive any of the Suboxone that was helping her to stay clean and she did not receive any type of drug counseling. 

Staying off drugs is very commonly required as a condition of probation, but unfortunately it is common for people who are sentenced to probation to take drugs. The problem is, addicts are -- by definition -- addicted to drugs. This means it can be very difficult for them to just stop cold turkey and never have a relapse.

The woman whose story was shared in the New York Times decided to file a lawsuit and argued that requiring addicts to stay sober as a condition of their probation can be a form of cruel and unusual punishment. The Massachusetts Supreme Court is now considering this issue and weighing scientific studies that suggest addiction may be a disease of the brain which can sometimes prevent addicts from abstaining even when they want to.

The outcome of the case remains to be seen, but it could have far-reaching implications for all those who are addicted to drugs and who face harsh criminal penalties because of it. Since penalties for drug offenses can be very severe, it is important to talk with an Albany drug crime lawyer if you have been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the use of narcotics.

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