Archive for category Methamphetamine'

Methamphetamine and the Courts: Mitigation in Sentencing

In the eyes of many, substance abuse is a matter of personal poor judgment in decision making. In spite of significant popular and scientific literature suggesting that addiction is a condition that has at least some organic and genetic inputs, having a drug or alcohol problem still equates with having a character deficiency. The law reflects this not uncommon perspective in that “being under the influence” of mind-altering substances is not exculpatory unless involuntary ingestion is involved. Furthermore, as is seen below, substance abuse may lead to enhancement of sentence severity. However, substance abuse has also been mitigating for sentencing purposes, ranging from an explicit affirmative defense in California of “diminished actuality” to nebulous so-called “waste-basket” mitigation clauses that permit the defendant to raise any factors of possible consequence. Forensic evaluation focused on the sentencing phase thus takes place in a complex and often uncertain legal context. Statutory and Case Law Relative to Substance Abuse and Mitigation in Sentencing Methamphetamine and the Courts: Evaluation of Defendants and Context Reporting to the Court In general, forensic reports follow a format of identifying information, Read more […]

Statutory and Case Law Relative to Substance Abuse and Mitigation in Sentencing

Two major levels of consideration pertain when it comes to sentencing schemes. One involves state codes and the case law that defines and guides their implementation by judges. The second is the federal law and a very special ongoing operation that has created a complex but not particularly flexible decision-making process. Aspects of how these levels operate with respect to substance abuse, particularly methamphetamine abuse, and sentencing are detailed below. State Codes and Cases In the state sentencing processes, somewhat greater potentials for mitigatory findings are evident. Cases in Ohio from 1997 to the present that have had appellate review were accessed. Table Methamphetamine and Sentencing: Ohio Appeals 1996-2002 Cases provides information regarding the types of cases, issues involved, and outcomes. Table Methamphetamine and Sentencing: Ohio Appeals 1996-2002 Cases Citation Type Major Issue Outcome State ex rel, ‘Wright v. Ohio Adult Parole Authority 75 0S3d 82 661 N.E. 2d728, 1996 Revocation of conditional release Restrictions in search and seizure; under prior precedent unreasonably obtained evidence not admissible Evidence obtained unreasonably is admissible State v. Cossin Read more […]

Methamphetamine and the Courts: Evaluation of Defendants and Context

Purposes of Evaluation All forensic evaluation and analysis takes place within a legal context and properly focuses on the questions before the court. As the foregoing section illustrated, there are relevant precedents that constrain both questions and variables, which may be entertained by the court. It is within that context that evaluation takes place. Mitigation in sentencing involves the notion that some agreed-upon level of punishment for the crime committed can be adjusted in the direction of leniency if factors particular to the person and situation warrant such consideration. Mitigation is a basic part of all legal codes and has been present either in content (by defining offenses according to some set of standard factors to be greater or lesser) or by reference to modifying conditions (the Code of Hammurabi written about 1700 B.C.e. contained such specifics) (). More currently, the resurrection of capital punishment after Furman (1972) created sets of definitions of mitigatory factors and a body of case law further elaborating what could or should be brought to the attention of the jury or judge. Following Lockett v. U.S (1978), inclusion of individually based information resulted in drug related factors Read more […]

Survey of Methamphetamine Cases Evaluated in a Court Clinic

Although assessment and treatment options in the county from which the below cases were reviewed are better than many, they are generally available only to defendants for whom a mandatory prison sentence is not involved. The general inclination of judges at this court is to refer whenever they perceive questions about treatment-related issues. It is the impression of the court psychologist that defendants referred for a pre-sentence psychological evaluation often are seen as having greater potential for treatment than incarceration. The focus for psychological evaluations as the psychologist reported it is to develop information relevant to the mitigation and sentencing issues and to the risk of violation of probation where a treatment package is recommended. In his opinion, further evaluation of the substance-related and other treatment aspects of referred defendants should be a component of any ongoing treatment facility. The major sources of referral are the judges on their own initiatives, motions by defense counsel, or the request of the probation department where initial psychosocial history leads to a question of psychological status. The majority of referred persons with substance-related issues attend Read more […]

Methamphetamine and the Courts: Treatment as a Sentencing Consideration

Although substance abuse in general and methamphetamine abuse in particular have given rise to sentencing enhancement rather than leading to a primary focus on recidivism prevention, the importance of intervention has not been lost in the criminal justice system. Toward that end, as was seen in the review of court cases above, recommendations for treatment as part of probation or conditional release are not uncommon. However, reaching a goal of reducing addictive behavior and the crime that is associated with it depends on having adequate treatment modalities. Treatment for chemical dependency in general and specifically for methamphetamine has not been uniform around the country. There have been a number of attempts through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to develop standardized treatment protocols that would act as guidelines to programs that treat addiction. However, the penetration of these algorithms in the provider community has been at best sporadic and fragmented. Many providers continue to use a traditional approach to treatment that is primarily based on the disease concept and follows the Hazleton model. This approach, although effective for Read more […]

Methamphetamine and the Courts: Expert Testimony

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Regarding Methamphetamine A search for U.S. Supreme Court cases involving methamphetamine usage reveals a decidedly conservative stance, although dissenting opinions reflect support for defendants’ and Constitutional rights. The few cases uncovered involved sentencing guidelines, entrapment procedures, waiver of plea bargain discussion inadmissibility and coercion in the plea bargaining process, hearsay evidence, and the right to cross-examination. For example, in Fowner v. United States (1992), the Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that sentencing based on the amount of a drug could reflect not just the amount for which the defendant was found guilty but also additional material that constituted a nondrug waste product. Similarly, in Kinder v. United States (1992), the lower court was upheld in applying a sentence that reflected an amount of a drug that the defendant had referred to in the course of discussions but was higher than the amount specified in the plea bargaining that allowed a conviction. Significant issues arise in the area of entrapment. Investigation of conspiracies to manufacture and sell drugs often involves undercover work and so-called sting operations. In Read more […]

Methamphetamine: Addiction Treatment and Recouery

Addiction experts report that an addiction to stimulants, especially a dependence on methamphetamine, can be very difficult to overcome. Those who are addicted to stimulants enjoy the euphoria that the drugs bring them, and to the addict, the highs of stimulant use are worth nearly any cost. As a result, the therapist must teach the addict to detach the joys of life from the use of methamphetamine and amphetamine, helping them learn that experiencing normal life with its ups and downs is a better way to live than depending on the feelings that stimulants induce as well as the many negative consequences that addiction can cause to their minds and bodies. When individuals are treated for amphetamine abuse or dependence, there is no physical need to taper off the drug, as there is with some other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, and thus, the drug can be stopped immediately. However, the psychological impact is profound. For example, psychological symptoms peak within two to four days of the last use of amphetamine and many users have very depressed mood and talk about suicide. Such severe reactions may require that the individual be admitted to a treatment facility and closely watched. Benzodiazepines (antianxiety medications) Read more […]

Methamphetamine: Abuse Data Based On Admissions To Treatment Centers

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), most people who are admitted to treatment facilities for the abuse of amphetamine or methamphetamine began abusing the drug before age 21. For example, nearly 80% of the 142,184 people admitted to treatment centers in 2007 were children or young adults when they first started using. About 6% of these individuals started using stimulants at a very young age-when they were 12 years old or younger — and the largest percentage of users by age group included adolescents ages 15 to 16 years old, or nearly 18%. In addition, about 7% of individuals admitted for dependence on methamphetamine or amphetamine were 19 years and younger. However, the largest single group by age of individuals who were addicted to amphetamines, including methamphetamine and other amphetamines, were ages 25 to 29 years old, about 12% of all admissions. Interestingly, females were about twice as likely to be admitted for treatment for addiction to amphetamine or methamphetamine as the primary substance of abuse than were males — 11.1% for females compared with 6.3% for males. Considering Race and Ethnicity In considering race alone, most individuals admitted Read more […]

Addiction Treatment and Recovery: Types Of Therapy

Many treatment facilities use a combination of approaches to help drug abusers, as do individual therapists. The most common types of therapy used in treatment centers include substance abuse counseling, anger management, group therapy, 12-step facilitation, brief intervention therapy, contingency management/motivational incentives, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse prevention therapy, motivational interviewing, the Matrix Model, or community reinforcement that includes vouchers. Nearly all treatment facilities for individuals with drug problems (96%) encourage the patient to talk about his or her individual experiences with the drug and also help the individual attain greater self-understanding of why drug use started and how it can best be ended. Anger Management According to SAMHSA, anger management therapy is either always or often used by treatment facilities for individuals with all types of drug problems in 39% of the cases and it is sometimes used in 45% of all cases. Anger management is a form of therapy that generally uses a combination of other therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and relaxation therapy, as well as teaching individuals better communication skills to help them recognize Read more […]

Treatment of Methamphetamine Abuse

Treatment of Methamphetamine Abuse — Lack of Evidence for the Efficacy of Any of the Models Currently in Use Traditional treatment programs based on the Minnesota Model (28-day in-patient treatment) have been shown to be ineffective for the treatment of stimulant addiction. Both the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) have sponsored research into the efficacy of treatments for methamphetamine (methamphetamine) abuse. A third program that has been put forward as a potentially useful model for the treatment of methamphetamine abuse is the Haight Ashbury Outpatient Model. Although the program that is currently receiving the greatest national attention, the Matrix Model, has been shown to be promising, none of these models has been effectively evaluated for its efficacy for the treatment of methamphetamine abuse. Treatment of Methamphetamine: Matrix Model of Outpatient Treatment NIDA Treatment Guidelines NIDA has published treatment guidelines for stimulant abusers that have been empirically tested and their efficacy validated. However, these manuals were developed and tested on a population of cocaine users. A recent report () identified a variety of differences Read more […]