There's an interesting discussion taking place surrounding the jail sentence of Julie Eldred. The following info was cut and pasted from this site.
"Julie Eldred [originally convicted of theft-related charges] was a drug addict on criminal probation – which required her to stay clean. She was trying to. But as so often happens, she couldn’t. The judge sent her to jail for 10 days. Is that what our society ought to do? Is relapse a crime requiring time behind bars – or a symptom of disease requiring treatment? ..."
"The irony is both dark and profound: Only in death do drug users become victims. Until then, they are criminals. In addition, a vast majority of American prisons deny opioid addicts access to medication-assisted therapy, or MAT, which uses Food and Drug Administration-approved medications that can relieve opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Most addiction specialists say MAT is far and away the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder."
One "argument, which is shared by many medical professionals, is that incarceration poses a threat to the recovery process—not that court-ordered drug treatment or testing is unfair, or that criminal sanctions shouldn’t be imposed on probationers who don’t comply with treatment. Eldred had been on a regime of anti-craving medicine, Suboxone, for five days when she relapsed.
'From a therapeutic perspective, it is very disruptive to put somebody in a position where they’re afraid if they talk about relapse—or even talk about cravings to relapse—they could be jailed,' said Newman-Polk, who previously worked as an addiction counselor. 'If the court feels that addiction treatment is a necessary probation condition, then the court system shouldn’t interrupt the treatment process.'”
The case, set to decide if requiring probationers to remain clean is constitutional is currently pending in the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
We all know that being under the influence of any drug can affect our behavior. But while a person may
know how cocaine or alcohol affects him or her independently, not very many people are aware of how a combination of the drugs may influence their behavior and harm their health. Why? Because when a person ingests this combination, the body produces a metabolite called cocaethylene (also known as ethylbenzoylecgonine,) in the liver about two hours after the person has ingested the second of the two drugs. This chemical can cause a longer lasting and more intense symptomology for both drugs due to the cocaethylene both (1) being harder to eliminate from the body (the liver isn't as efficient at filtering it out,) and (2) slowing the reuptake of dopamine.
Studies have shown that people who use these two drugs together often binge drink, which then causes additional heath issues such as: (as you would expect) liver damage, alcohol poisoning, general poor judgment, and (as you may not expect) cardiovascular issues and nerve damage.
In the context of criminal law, a potential defendant should be aware that when under the influence of cocaethylene, they may suffer from increased anxiety, impulsivity, and aggression. Further, they are at a greater risk of stroke, heart attack (because it negatively impacts the heart muscle's ability to properly to contract,) can increase the potential for long-term ever damage, and may suffer from seizures. In fact, the chances of suffering from a sudden death increase between 18-25 times higher than using cocaine alone.
Devina strives to make information relevant to the lives of her clients easily accessible.