Drug addiction occurs when a person becomes physically or mentally dependent upon the use of a drug in order to function normally. Addiction is a complex phenomenon and can involve many different types of behavior. For instance, some drugs can cause chemical changes in a person’s brain that cause the person to become physically addicted to a substance (i.e., physiological dependence).
Other types of drug addiction include behavioral addiction, in which the person’s addiction is rooted more in the behavioral aspects rather than physical dependence on the drug.
Which Drugs Are Considered Addictive?
Some drugs may be considered more addictive than others. Drugs that are commonly involved in heavy drug addiction include:
- Cocaine and crack cocaine
- Methamphetamines and other stimulants
- Various types of prescription drugs, which may lead to unique criminal activity such as prescription fraud
- Synthetic drugs
Various other substances may be considered addictive drugs. State laws may vary regarding the way that drugs are classified.
Is Drug Addiction a Defense to Some Crimes?
Generally speaking, being addicted to drugs or drug substances is not a defense to crimes. However, being under the influence of drugs can sometimes serve as a defense. This is often the case if the person is unable to form the requisite mental state for a crime due to their being under the influence of drugs. A common example of this is where a person is unable to control their volitions due to being under the influence of drugs.
Defenses involving drugs also work more in the defendant’s favor if they were consumed a drug substance without their knowledge (i.e., involuntary intoxication). This can happen for instance if the drugs were inserted into their food or drink without them being aware of it. In some crime cases, the judge may offer alternative sentencing options if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crime (such as diversion programs or rehabilitation programs). Another drug defense available to addicts is drug overdose immunity.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Drug addiction is a major community concern. Drug use and distribution is often related to other crimes and legal issues such as theft or violent crime. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you have any legal issues, questions, or concerns regarding drug addiction. Drug addiction in itself is a serious issue, but it can also compound certain types of criminal and legal issues. Your attorney can inform you of your legal options, and can also provide you with representation if you need to attend trial in court.