Addiction issues often start out small. Someone starts taking a medication prescribed by their doctor and then becomes dependent on it. Their dependence means that they feel like they need to continue using the medication even after their doctor ends the prescription. They may start buying it on the unregulated market or could even transition to more dangerous street drugs, like heroin.
Addiction to chemical substances has a strong correlation with criminal issues. Obviously, someone illegally in possession of a drug could face charges if they get caught while possessing the drug, after taking the drug or while attempting to purchase their drug of choice.
However, drug-related crimes aren’t the only offenses that those struggling with addiction might face.
Supporting an addiction is expensive
Those coping with chemical dependence may find themselves accused of theft crimes, like breaking and entering or even shoplifting items that they hope to resell for money. The risk of criminal activity to support an addiction is especially high for those unable to keep a job because of their addiction.
Those desperate to obtain their next fix may do things that they would usually never consider, in large part because of the desperation they feel to stave off the pains of withdrawal. Dealing with their dependence takes priority over everything else.
Impairments and withdrawal can lead to unpredictable behavior
When someone is under the influence of a powerful drug, their behavior will likely change. They might become more unpredictable or aggressive. Some people also become more susceptible to suggestion, meaning that other people could coax to them into violence or criminal acts. The physical discomfort and panic people feel during withdrawal might also make someone aggressive, leading to physical altercations.
Those struggling with addiction may need help handling the charges they now face. In some cases, those facing qualifying criminal charges and dealing with a medically-confirmed addiction may qualify for adjudication in the adult drug treatment court in North Carolina. These specialty courts give defendants with addictions the opportunity to seek treatment and possibly limit the impact of their current criminal charges on the rest of their life.
Learning about the connection between addiction and crime can help those accused of drug offenses or criminal acts related to addiction defend themselves.