In Texas, possession of illicit substances carries heavy penalties. Unfortunately, many who face drug-related crimes also have substance use disorder. SUD is a public health concern that impacts drug crime and its defense.
Understanding how SUD impacts crime can help defendants decide whether SUD fits them as a valid defense.
SUD as a precursor for crime
Substance use disorder often accompanies other forms of mental illness. Individuals may turn to illicit substances to self-medicate or to treat other undiagnosed or diagnosed mental conditions. In Texas, about 36% of the population reports experiencing depression or anxiety. People in this population may have a higher risk of developing SUD.
SUD can damage a person’s impulse control. Individuals may engage in drug-related crimes, such as drug possession or commit theft in order to obtain illicit substances. People with SUD have a higher probability of engaging in risky activities because of the hold drugs have on the mind.
SUD as a criminal defense
Acknowledging substance use disorder can help people with drug charges seek reduced incarceration or penalties. In Texas, individuals may be able to seek treatment as an alternative. If you participate in a court-approved SUD treatment program, the court may offer reduced criminal charges. Texas also has diversion programs that focus on rehabilitation over punishment.
To use SUD and treatment to help you navigate your drug-related charges, you must keep evidence of your condition and criminal history. If you can make a case for yourself regarding your need for treatment, you may be able to fight more serious charges.