Recreational and prescription drugs have been an everyday feature in Western life for decades, and regular drug use is normalized in film, television, and popular culture. One thing every parent will struggle with at some point or another is how to talk to their children about the dangers of drug use.
Even the most hands-on and attentive parenting style will not ensure that your kids don't experiment with drug use in high school or college, however, and the last thing you want is to get a phone call late at night saying that your child has been arrested on drug charges.
This is why it is so important for the young adults in your family to understand the basic facts about the legal and health dangers of illicit drug use, and to educate yourself about how the law applies to substance abuse.
To that end, here are three basic facts about drug use and the law that everyone should know.
1. Not All Drug Charges are the Same
All drug charges are a serious matter, but that doesn't mean all drug charges are the same. Most countries distinguish between different categories of drugs and different categories of offense, based on how addictive the substances are and their potential for abuse.
Offenses related to Schedule I substances like heroin, Schedule III substances like anabolic steroids, and Schedule IV substances like Xanax or Valium will be treated differently, just as simple possession and possession for the purposes of trafficking carry different sentences.
3. There are Options Available for Fighting Charges
Being convicted of a drug-related offense, whether it be for simple possession, possession with the intention to traffic, or trafficking, can have a far-reaching impact on just about every aspect of a person's life. This is why it is important to explore the legal avenues for fighting these charges before making the decision whether or not to plead guilty.
If a member of your family has been charged with illegal use of a controlled substance, it is important to get the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer like Jeff Reisman Law who specializes in navigating this complicated and sensitive are in our justice system.
3. Drug Charges Don't Necessarily Mean a Criminal Record
Just because you've been charged with possession or trafficking does not automatically mean you will have a criminal record. Even if you are found guilty, there are circumstances in which the court may decide to give the offender an absolute discharge.
One of the reasons to hire a criminal lawyer who specializes in drug-related offenses is that they will have a comprehensive knowledge of the options available and can help ensure that a youthful indiscretion doesn't come to define a loved one's life.
Drug use is a basic reality of life in 21st century North America, and one of the most unhelpful messages a parent can send their children is that drug use - either recreational or medical - is a taboo subject. Between the recent movement to legalize cannabis to the opioid epidemic sweeping Canada and the U.S., it is important to be able to have an honest conversation about drugs, health, and the law.
By destigmatizing drugs as a topic of conversation, you open a door for every member of your family to share their struggles, stay accountable, and hopefully avoid drug charges altogether.
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