Mental Health And Addiction; How To Handle Drug Charges When Mental Health Is An Issue
There is no question that alcohol and drugs lead to a number of societal problems, not least of which is criminal conduct. In the United States, it is estimated that 35% of violent crime victims believe their attacker was impaired by alcohol at the time of their attack, and 30% of prison inmates reported issues with alcohol addiction before their incarceration. Nearly 2 out of 3 domestic violence incidents tend to be tied to alcohol consumption as well.
Meanwhile, drug use is also connected to property crimes and violent crimes, as many drug users may commit certain crimes simply to obtain money for drugs. Those charged with drug possession under the Texas Penal Code frequently have an issue not only with addiction itself, but with mental health disorders that are closely connected with addiction.
Mental health issues that may contribute to or cause addiction to alcohol or illicit substances can include:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Other mood or personality disorders
The Covid-19 Pandemic did nothing to help ease mental health concerns among Texans, meanwhile. In 2021, 34% of Texans – 1 in 3 – reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Unfortunately, resources to treat mental health concerns that can lead to addiction and crime are spread thin. These disorders can often lurk under the surface until they spiral out of control in the form of a severe alcohol or drug addiction. For these people, it is not until their addiction leads to a criminal charge that their mental health issues get much-needed attention.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with a Crime While Facing Addiction and Mental Health Issues
Facing a criminal charge while already battling mental health challenges can be overwhelming for anybody in that situation. In many cases, however, a defendant in drug or alcohol related cases has some options available. For some defendants meeting certain qualifications, the Texas Drug Court program provides an alternative to standard criminal procedures and sentencing standards. Through the Drug Court program, a defendant might be able to avoid certain penalties including jail based on their circumstances.
Both Harris County and Fort Bend County offer Drug Courts for those deemed suitable for the program. For example, if the defendant faces only a non-violent drug charge and seems likely to participate and follow through, Drug Court could be an option. This is an intensive program that can last over a year, and involve weekly monitoring, frequent drug testing, and supervision by a Drug Court Judge. These requirements are strict, but beat the alternative of a jail sentence.
Working with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, defendants might be able to explore all potential resolutions to their case, including Drug Court. Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services has additional resources available to those facing substance abuse and mental health issues.
When to Call a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney in a Drug or Alcohol Related Case
If you face any type of criminal charge related to drugs or alcohol, the statistics show it is likely you may face challenges with addiction and mental health as well. These issues can be closely connected with the behavior alleged in your case, and support may be available to you. At Keith B. French Law, our Pearland drug crime lawyers understand the personal challenges you may face, and will work hard not only to advocate for your legal rights but to tell your personal story as well.