Latest Posts

Nation’s first opioid court opens, goal is keeping users alive

The ordinary drug treatment courts aren’t up to dealing with the opioid addiction crisis. Officials in Buffalo, New York, which has just opened the nation’s first opioid treatment court, say that more drastic measures are needed if the intervention is to be successful at its most basic level: keeping the defendant alive. Most drug courts emerged in the 1980s and early 1990s in response to crack cocaine. The idea is to provide what’s really needed — drug treatment — to people who aren’t career criminals but got involved in drugs. Defendants may be first-time arrestees for drug possession, or they may have been charged for crimes they committed as a result of their drug addiction. Those charges are dropped if... Read More »

Pregnant addict charged with aggravated assault for overdose

Should someone with a serious addiction problem be criminally charged for overdosing? She should if she is pregnant and the overdose harms the child, according to prosecutors in another state. Unfortunately, it’s not at all clear the mother was fully responsible for the harm to her child in this case. Emergency medical technicians, police and emergency room personnel all seem to have missed the symptoms of an overdose, causing a potentially major delay in treatment for the overdose. The 30-year-old woman was seven months pregnant when she was released from jail recently. She had been in jail for much of her pregnancy on charges of retail theft. When she was released, however, she was prescribed Narcan, a substance that reverses... Read More »

Opioid treatment is available, but even the insured aren’t getting it

The co-author of a new study in JAMA Pediatrics has a message for parents. "If you have a child struggling with opioid addiction, understand that there are medications that support and sustain recovery." That seems straightforward, but the study found that many people may not realize there are effective treatments available for addiction to opioid medications like OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax — even methadone, fentanyl and heroin. Unfortunately, it seems that most young addicts aren’t getting that treatment, even when they have good insurance. The study considered the medical records of almost 21,000 opioid addicts between the ages of 13 and 25 who were insured through UnitedHealthcare. Even during the period of 2001 and 2014 when opioid addiction was skyrocketing,... Read More »

Drugged drivers

More law enforcement agencies looking for drugged drivers

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, June 23, 2017

The growing danger of drugged driving leading accidents continues to be a concern for law enforcement agencies across Florida. It is also widely viewed as a reason against the legalization of marijuana for recreational use even though a number of surveys and polls suggest that many more Americans would not oppose its legalization. Despite this sentiment, there is still the looming danger of people being injured and losing their lives in crashes ostensibly caused by drugged driving. In fact, the number of people found to be impaired by prescription or illegal drugs while behind the wheel has increased. A USA Today.com report found that at least two in ten drivers involved in accidents in 2015 were found to have Xanax,... Read More »

Senators consider adding new mandatory minimums for fentanyl

The drugs fentanyl and carfentanil have been playing outsized roles in the opioid epidemic, which is already high-profile. Fentanyl is considered to be about 100 times more powerful than morphine, while carfentanil is perhaps 10,000 times more powerful. Yet even though carfentanil is meant to tranquilize large mammals like rhinos and hippopotamuses, the drug is sometimes mixed with heroin or other opiates used by addicts. These potent synthetic opioids pose a real risk to law enforcement, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He recently warned officers to avoid any exposure to the drugs, as people are overdosing in record numbers. He warns that America doesn’t have time to debate whether the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis or... Read More »

SCOTUS: Defendant who didn’t benefit shouldn’t lose to forfeiture

One of the most devastating aspects of the War on Drugs has been civil forfeiture. Under this procedure, the government can seize the money and property of drug defendants before they’ve even been convicted of a crime. As long as law enforcement can make any reasonable argument that assets are tied to illegal activity, defendants can’t get them back without proving they were not. Typically, they can only do that if they’re acquitted or have kept very careful records. Civil forfeiture has been very successful at taking profits from the illegal drug industry and turning them over to the law enforcement agencies that seize them. It has also been harshly criticized for a variety of reasons. For one, it often... Read More »

What defense might Tiger Woods have to his prescription drug DUI?

On Memorial Day, golf legend Tiger Woods was found sleeping in his car near his Jupiter home. Unfortunately for him, the person who discovered him was a police officer. Police dashcam video shows Woods’ car improperly parked, and field sobriety tests performed for the camera show the professional golfer confused and disoriented. He has been charged with DUI and improper parking. Nevertheless, he passed two Breathalyzer tests with flying colors and apparently passed a urine test, as well. He was not drunk. According to a statement by Woods, the events occurred due to "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications" he was taking during rehab after back surgery. He says he didn’t realize the medication would affect him so strongly and... Read More »

Lawmakers reveal bipartisan effort to reduce harsh drug sentences

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed all federal prosecutors to return to the old ways. Instead of taking steps to limit long prison sentences for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders, he ordered U.S. Attorneys nationwide to seek the sentence set out in the federal sentencing guidelines, no matter how harsh. "By definition," he opined in his policy memo, "the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory-minimum sentences." In other words, if the sentence for a nonviolent, street-level marijuana user’s sentence is harsh, it’s because Congress wants it that way. But there’s plenty of evidence that Congress doesn’t want the extreme drug sentences we’ve been seeing — drug sentences that break up families, devastate... Read More »

Medical marijuana implementation collapses on dispensary issue

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Thursday, May 18, 2017

How many retail dispensaries should a medical marijuana treatment center reasonably operate? The Florida House thinks it’s around 100 dispensaries per treatment center, but the Senate thinks it should be around 5. This disagreement has stalled the implementation of Florida’s medical marijuana amendment, to the consternation of many who voted for it. The bill looks dead for now. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said they continue to review public comments. If the agency makes rules at this point, litigation is expected. "The legislature chose political gamesmanship over the will of 71 percent of voters," said the executive director of Florida for Care. "The House got to poke the Senate in the eye one last time, but the real... Read More »

Source: Feds are about to begin filing the most serious charges

Traditionally, prosecutors have had the authority to determine which among the various possible criminal charges to file in a given situation. They can also choose not to file any charges at all, even when there is a provable case. This concept is called prosecutorial discretion. That said, U.S. Attorneys and their staffs of federal prosecutors serve at the pleasure of the Attorney General, who directs the overall policy direction taken by anyone representing the Department of Justice. During the Obama Administration, for example, Attorney General Eric Holder urged federal prosecutors to avoid taking on low-level marijuana crimes, especially in states that had legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Marijuana possession cases, he reasoned, are better handled by state and... Read More »