It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that drug use and abuse is on the rise in the U.S. Drug-related crimes are on the increase and the U.S. Congress responded by enacting laws to make more drug-related activities chargeable crimes.
“I’m honestly not sure if making more things that are drug-related into criminal acts is the best way to solve the drug problem, as usually it is linked to personal issues, not the drug itself. In other words, addict’s problems generally started before taking drugs, and then get worse after starting drugs,” opined Daniel H. Wannamaker of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin, Texas, law firm with offices in Houston and Dallas.
The drug doesn’t cause the addiction, the personality who takes drugs is already pre-disposed to having addictive behaviors and if it wasn’t drugs, it may be alcohol, gambling, sex or work addictions. In addition, making more laws means more police, more enforcement, more chances for the miscarriage of justice and even greater opportunities for the abuse of human rights under the Constitution.
Think about this as well. “Where will the money for more law enforcement come from when the nation’s deficit is staggering and we’re currently in a nasty recession?” questioned Wannamaker. While it’s a nice gesture to make people think that more aggressive laws and more police on the streets will address the drug problem, the fact is the drug problem has been with us for years. “We’re only seeing more of it thanks to the drastic downturn in the economy,” Wannamaker pointed out.
These days what is illegal and how strict the penalties are for being caught vary from state to state. “It’s a given that things like marijuana, ecstasy and LSD are illegal, but so is taking prescription drugs without a prescription,” added Wannamaker. Yes, there’s a booming business through drug traffickers for prescription drugs, including some highly recognizable painkillers such as Oxycontin, Codeine and Dilaudid.
It’s not just using the drug that is illegal; even possessing certain drugs is considered to be a criminal offence. “Then there is also the offense of trafficking as well,” said Wannamaker. In all of this rush to codify having drugs, using drugs, selling drugs and importing drugs, an important factor usually gets overlooked, either through carelessness or intentionally. “That factor is the right of the person charged to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty,” insisted Wannamaker who knows this fact all too well since he is a board certified criminal defense lawyer.
“We cannot, as a nation, override people’s constitutional rights and assume they are automatically guilty of a crime if they had some “weed” or whatever in their possession. Things are not always what they appear to be, and that is why we have criminal defense attorneys – to defend people’s inalienable rights,” said Wannamaker.