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Understanding the benefits of drug courts

The state of Florida created the first drug court in 1989 to proactively address drug-related crimes. Today, there are 94 drug courts in the state, including specialized courts for veterans, children and family dependency courts. A 2009 study demonstrated that people who completed drug courts were 80 percent less likely to go back to prison than the comparison group who did not go through the drug court system. A 2014 outcome and cost study of the program completed by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability found that the estimated savings of drug courts through reduced recidivism is about $500,000. Successful drug court completers had fewer felony convictions and fewer prison sentences.

Is your drug addiction treating a mental illness?

Drug addiction is a serious problem, whether it involves licit or illicit drugs. It becomes even more complex if someone is self-treating a mental illness by using illicit substances. This can land a person in the criminal justice system when all that was needed was proper mental health treatment. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, chronic drug abuse often occurs in conjunction with mental illnesses identified by the American Psychiatric Association. This includes disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some disorders actually have an increased risk of drug abuse:

The "potalyzer": Detecting marijuana intoxication with saliva samples

If you have read our February blog post that provided an update on potential changes coming to Florida's marijuana laws, you can add HB 307 to the list of Florida laws that relate to marijuana possession. This past March, Gov. Rick Scott signed into legislation HB 307, which legalizes the use of medical marijuana for select circumstances. Additionally, registered voters in Florida will be able show their support this November for Amendment 2, legislation that supports the creation of a medical marijuana program in Florida.

It's not mine! What to do if the drugs don't belong to you

Police officers rarely take people seriously when they hear the phrase, "It's not mine!" If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance that is not your own it can feel like someone pressed the mute button. Possession charges can affect your potential college, career, and family; therefore you should understand your rights within Florida law to protect your future.

Changes may be coming to Florida's marijuana laws

Across the country, there is a national debate taking place about legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. Four states, including Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington (as well as the District of Columbia) have legalized possession for recreational use and many more have decriminalized it or are considering doing so.

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