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Is Drug Abuse and Addiction Really a Crime?

Closeup of hand reaching for various drugs

If you have been arrested for a drug-related offense, you may be eligible for help rather than incarceration. Some courts have begun to realize that crime is not always the problem, it is often a symptom of the real problem, drug abuse, and addiction. Each Florida county treats drug abuse and addiction differently. Hillsborough County has created some problem-solving courts which offer help as an alternative to incarceration. Some of the alternatives are:

  • Juvenile Drug Court
  • Drug Pretrial Intervention
  • Adult Post Adjudication

Juvenile Drug Court

The juvenile drug court is a program in which participants are required to attend substance abuse counseling, submit to random drug screens, attend a school or obtain a general equivalency diploma (GED), follow court‑ordered sanctions, and comply with any other orders issued by the court. The end goal is to have the legal charges dismissed.

See: Thirteenth Judicial Court

Drug Pretrial Intervention

The Adult Drug Pretrial Intervention Court allows first‑time drug offenders the opportunity to avoid having a felony conviction on their record.

After completing a background check, the defendant signs a contract in which he or she agrees to complete a drug treatment program and the State Attorney’s Office agrees to drop the charges upon completion of that program.

See: Thirteenth Judicial Court

Adult Post Adjudication

The Adult Post‑Adjudication Drug Court is designed to treat and assist those individuals whose drug and alcohol problems have resulted in being charged with a 3rd-degree felony.

See: Thirteenth Judicial Court

Drug courts may offer therapies that include medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Addiction is a chronic brain disease in which a person regularly finds and uses drugs. It is a brain disease because addiction can change how the brain works. Without treatment and recovery, addiction may keep getting worse.

There are three main choices for medication to treat opioid addiction.

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Extended-Release Naltrexone (Vivitrol)


Methadone relieves withdrawal and cravings. The goal is to feel normal, not intoxicated or in withdrawal. Stopping methadone abruptly will result in withdrawal symptoms.


Buprenorphine reduces the desire for opioids and reduces withdrawal symptoms. The goal is to help a person feel normal. Stopping methadone abruptly will result in withdrawal symptoms.

Extended-Release Naltrexone (Vivitrol)

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) works by blocking opioids from acting on your brain. It takes away the high and allows your brain time to heal. It may also stop drug cravings. Stopping naltrexone abruptly will NOT result in I withdrawal symptoms.

Why Should I Contact a Drug Abuse and Addiction Defense Attorney?

Drug abuse and addiction can happen to anyone. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a drug-related crime and need help with a drug abuse and addiction problem, it is critical that you get help from experienced drug abuse and addiction defense attorney. Drug abuse and addiction are complex and requires the help of someone with experience and knowledge concerning treatment and recovery. An experienced drug abuse and addiction attorney may be able to help you avoid a lengthy prison term and get the help you need.

Why Fernandez & Hernandez?

Fernandez & Hernandez can assist and guide you through the process. Fernandez & Hernandez have many years of experience and may be able to help you find a solution to your drug addiction problem. If you need legal assistance with drug abuse and addiction call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229‑5353.

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez defends individuals charged with a misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area and the State of Florida. With more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and hundreds of jury trials, Daniel earned tremendous accolades from judges, other lawyers, defendants, and even jurors. Daniel started his legal career as a state prosecutor and became the chief of the Narcotics division before opening his own law practice in 1985.

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