The Florida Office of Drug Control has worked together with the Office
of Planning and Budget within the state's executive branch over the
past decade to foster strategies to limit the ill effects of substance
abuse statewide. Part of that advocacy has been coming up with law enforcement
strategies to decrease illicit drug supplies throughout the state. But
its mission statement has long promoted two equally important alternatives:
prevention and treatment.
One of the first acts of Florida's new governor, Rick Scott, was to
eliminate the Office of Drug Control, which drew protests from a range
of anti-drug advocates, including the Drug Free America Foundation. "Without
this office, Florida will most assuredly face the prospect of increased
substance abuse, treatment costs, medical costs, crime and incarceration,"
the foundation's Executive Director Calvina Fay said in a press release.
While Gov. Scott's decision to close the office was fiscally motivated,
critics point out that its half-million-dollar annual budget was extremely
small in comparison to the problem it fought against - some advocates
estimate the annual costs of drug and alcohol abuse in Florida to exceed
$45 billion. By fostering drug prevention programs and channeling federal
funds to local communities, the Office of Drug Control provided documentable
benefits, not the least of which was reducing activity that led to charges of
drug trafficking and cultivation of marijuana or manufacture of methamphetamines.
When Addiction Leads to Drug Charges, a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Suggest Solutions
An increased incidence of
drug crime prosecutions of people who would benefit from substance abuse treatment
would be an unwelcome result for Florida communities, from Miami-Dade
to the Panhandle. But in the event that a person challenged with drug
addiction faces criminal prosecution, securing dedicated advocacy from
an experienced drug crimes defense attorney is an important, early step.
Early intervention in any criminal matter can improve the future prospects
of someone charged with a controlled substance crime. Chemical dependency
is one factor among many that can influence everything from the level
of charges filed to the consequences of a conviction. The sooner a person
seeks help and secures professional advice from substance abuse counselors
and a drug crimes defense lawyer, the better the prospects for treatment
and recovery rather than indictment, conviction and incarceration.