Taking A Proactive Approach To The Opioid Crisis And Mental Illness
The opioid epidemic is in the news on a nearly daily basis. We often hear about the thousands and even millions of Americans who are affected, but often, lost in the numbers, is the fact that real people’s lives are being lost and irrevocably changed due to addiction.
Routinely and regularly, we see parents and loved ones reach out without knowing what to do. Traditional lawyers and the court systems have failed them. They or their loved ones are being treated like criminals, rather than people with a serious medical issue.
The court systems then frequently turn those touched by the opioid crisis into recidivists and lifelong criminals, snatching away their chance at employment and a healthy life, and breaking families and multiple lives in the process.
The Rudman Law Group advocates for those with addiction and mental illness.
What’s At Stake — Crimes By Those With Addictions
When a person addicted to opioids enters the criminal justice system, there are one of three paths:
- A return to jail
Drugs like oxycodone, roxycodone, Percocet, fentanyl, heroin and Xanax proliferate on Florida streets (not to mention their nationwide impact), and are relatively cheap and easy to get. For addicts, the priority is almost always the next hit by any means necessary, whether they need to commit theft, prescription fraud or something even more dangerous and harmful.
The deck is stacked against those addicted to illicit drugs, particularly opioids. The focus is rarely on treatment, and is almost always punitive.
What’s At Stake — Crimes By Those With Mental Illness
When a person with a mental illness enters the criminal justice system, there are one of three paths:
- Mental health assistance
- Declared incompetent — with treatment
- A return to jail — without treatment
For those with mental illness, crimes such as battery, domestic violence and stalking are very common. There is an inability to understand the consequences for their behavior because they are unaware of their imbalance.
Punishing those with mental illness by jail diminishes their ability to seek help.
What We Do
The goal for any addicted or mentally ill person should be to get help. However, what’s the incentive for them if they’ll have a criminal conviction? If the goal is to become a productive member of society then their opportunities will be hampered if they become convicted felons.
As advocates for those with addiction and mental illness, we work with our clients, their families and therapeutic programs to encourage well-being over jail sentences. We aggressively advocate with the court systems to allow for these alternatives.
We do this by taking a proactive approach. Let’s address the issues first, rather than leaving it up to the judge or the court system to create a solution. We work to present a sober and mentally healthy option to the court system. Our attorneys collaborate with outside professionals, experts and religious figures to create lasting solutions in order to show the courts that the person standing in front of the judge is not the same person who is alleged to have committed a crime, because this person is no longer in the throes of an inescapable addiction or mental illness.
To put it simply, we work with those accused of a crime and their loved ones and family members to:
- Help them understand the nature of opioid addiction or mental illness
- Present cases for alternative sentencing
- Offer a path through the drug court programs or other rehabilitative programs that can provide meaningful change
- Address and avoid probation violations
We know that Florida’s response to the opioid crisis is failing. That’s why we work day and night to prevent good people from getting trapped in the system. The attorneys in The Rudman Law Group, in addition to being former prosecutors, are widely respected and recognized criminal defense attorneys who care about helping restore those who seek help.