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Healing Approach - Michael P. Maddux, P.A. Attorneys at Law

Approach to Healing Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drug and Alcohol abuse have a devastating effect on millions of Americans. Drug and alcohol abuse can affect every aspect of your life. They destroy relationships, families and the physical body. They can lead to arrests and imprisonment. Nationally 13% of all arrests are drug related, and of those arrests 80% of the drug offenses are for possession.i In 2007, 169,360 drug-related arrests occurred in Florida, 12,910 of which were in Hillsborough County.ii Not only can drug and alcohol abuse result in arrest and imprisonment, it can also cause serious health complications, including death. During the period of January to June of 2008, there were 4,055 deaths in Florida in which drugs were found by medical examiners.iii While the most common drug is marijuana,iv the most lethal types of drugs include heroine, methadone and oxycodone.v Part of the problem stems from availability and use from an early age. In a national poll about 40% of eighth graders said that they could easily access marijuana.vi

At the Law Office of Michael Maddux, P.A., the firm believes in taking a proactive approach to healing clients suffering from substance abuse to prevent further devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. From extensive evaluations with psychologists and counselors to court ordered rehabilitative treatment, the law firm has access to numerous resources to help clients treat their addictions and heal the devastating impacts the abuse has already wrought. Clients may also receive treatment on other underlying issues in their life which are prompting substance abuse problems. Drugs and alcohol have been found by some of our clients as a form of self medication. Treatment plans can be narrowly tailored to address these issues.

The firm’s intensive approach to healing drug abuse problems has been a success to help our clients get their lives back on track. One young client in particular came to the firm while suffering from drug and alcohol abuse which had resulted in both felony and misdemeanor charges. When the 19-year-old client came to the firm, he had been abusing drugs since he was 16. His use included regular use of marijuana and occasional abuse of alcohol, ecstasy, LSD and mushrooms. The firm had him evaluated by both psychological experts and drug counselors, in order to find a treatment program which was tailored to his needs. Through his psychological evaluation he was given a dual diagnosis of both mental health and substance abuse disorders. Based on his needs, the psychologist recommended intensive individualized treatment. The client in this case was unable to afford such intensive treatment program but was determined to find a solution to healing. The firm was able to get a court order to in-patient treatment at the Phoenix house. The Phoenix house is a 18-month residential substance abuse treatment program located in Citra, Ocala and Tampa, Florida. vii

In another case of substance abuse the client, had a violation of probation. Instead of a pending 30-day jail sentence, the firm was able to get the client rehabilitative treatment. The client was ordered to treatment at ACTS. ACTS is a substance abuse program which includes six-months of both residential substance abuse and dual diagnosis program.viii This particular unit of ACTS is located in Tarpon Springs. This is a specific example of how the firm works to obtain alternative, rehabilitative sentences.

ACTS and Phoenix are just two of the treatment centers available to the clients. After receiving evaluation from services from a proven counselor, a rehabilitative program is developed for the client. Other treatment facilities which might meet the needs of the clients can include, DACCO,ix Salvation Army,x PAR,xi Florida Center for Addictions and Dual Disordersxii and the In Jail Drug Treatment Program.xiii These programs vary in length from 9 weeks to 18 months. Facilities are located throughout the Central Florida area. Sometimes clients have to rely on private facilities funded through their health insurance providers.

There is also the option of being eligible for the Probation and Restitution Centers. Some of the factors of eligibility for this program include, a court order to participate, must be an inmate released within the past 90 days, able to obtain employment and have six-months remaining in Department Supervision. According to Florida Statutes Section 948.20(1), the Department of Corrections “shall develop and administer a drug offender probation program which emphasizes a combination of treatment and intensive community supervision approaches and which includes provisions for supervision of offenders in accordance with a specific treatment plan.”xiv Further, according to this statute, those on probation for a drug offense will be monitored by surveillance and random drug testing. Random drug testing is a compliance tool and a frequent source of probation violation.

If the case in not being contested through litigation the client could have their case processed in drug court.xv As a part of the 13 th Judicial Circuit, this specialized court couples alcohol and drug treatment with case processing. It is a non-adversarial process that provides rehabilitative drug abuse treatment and rehabilitative services. This program also incorporates aspects of medical, employment, mental health and other programs. Those who participate in the programs are subject to frequent testing and court reviews of their progress. Drug courts have been credited with having great success in reducing the number of repeat offenders. According to Newsweek, after two years of an arrest about two thirds of drug offenders are re-arrested, compared to only a quarter of those who go through drug court.xvi

The DACCO drug court pre-trial intervention substance abuse outpatient treatment program consists of four levels until the completion of the program. Level One is four weeks long and requires eight clean urine screens, eight 60 minute group counseling sessions, two meetings with primary counselors and four AA/NA meetings. Ultimately, the completion of the program requires 56 group meetings, 16 individual meetings, 52 AA/NA meeting, payment of fees and 21 acupunctures. During the course of the program there will be no unexcused absences.

Recently there was been some changes with the drug court to enhance access to the court for defendants, according to Roger Allen, drug court specialist. The court has been dropping some charges of second degree felony drug-charges to third degree felonies to allow those defendants to be a part of the program. If those participants do not complete the program then the original charges are reinstated and they are prosecuted in felony court accordingly.

We are proud to take a holistic approach to our work. We aim not only to fairly and effectively resolve criminal charges but to foster rehabilitation so our clients can succeed in their lives.

i 2007: Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/

ii Florida Department of Law Enforcement, http://www.fdle.state.fl.us

iii Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners 2008 Interim Report, http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/News/November-2008/2008-Interim-Report-by-Florida-Medical-Examiners-C.aspx

iv 2007: Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, http://www.ojp.doj.gov

v Drugs Ide 2007: Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, http://www.ojp.doj.gov notified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners 2008 Interim Report, www.fdle.state.fl.us

vi Monitoring the Future, A continuing Study of American Youth, http://www.monitoringthefuture.org

vii http://www.phoenixhouse.org/Florida/

viii http://www.actsfl.org ACTS (Agency for Community Treatment Services, Inc.)

ix http://www.dacco.org/ DACCO (Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office, Inc.)

x http://www.salvationarmyusa.org

xi http://www.operationpar.org/ PAR (Parental Awareness and Responsibility)

xii http://www.tchsonline.com/content/siteloc/flcenter.asp Tri-County Human Services

xiii http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/9798/stats/stat_cs.html

xiv http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm

xv http://www.fljud13.org/drugcourt

xvi Kalb, Claudia, “And Now, Back in the Real World ¼ ,” Newsweek, March 3, 2008


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2102 West Cleveland Street
Tampa, Florida 33606
Tampa Bay Area: 813-253-3363       Gainesville: 352-333-0144

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