facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Caught With Oxy: The Domino Effect

One man's sad story shows just how much an isolated drug bust can wreck your life.

Image: 

One thing led to another. Photo via

By Tony O'Neill

08/08/12

| Share

“Make no mistake about it: We are At War now—with somebody—and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives,” Hunter S. Thompson famously said in the aftermath of 9/11. He could easily have been talking about the War on Drugs, a relatively recent target of which is Rx pill abuse. Amid the charge to crack down on people taking addictive prescription pills without permission, people who are neither addicts nor dealers risk becoming collateral damage. Over at the Reason blog they've uncovered the Kafka-esque story of “James. He was pulled over by police in Florida—ground zero for the pill epidemic—back in 2006. Both a full-time graduate student at the University of North Florida and a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, James hardly fit the “menace to society” stereotype. A random traffic stop led to a search, after an officer claimed he could “smell marijuana” (there was none in the car). That search revealed a single OxyContin pill, which led to James's arrest for possession of an illicit narcotic—he says the pill was given to him at a concert he'd just attended and that he'd never used the drug before.

His arrest sparked a two-year nightmare. His lawyer advised him to plead no-contest, saying he would likely get probation and then have his record expunged, but "After being assured that the penalty would be light," James tells Reason, "it turned into a bigger ordeal than I could ever imagine." As soon as James pleaded no-contest, the judge started “piling on the penalties.” Despite not being an addict, he was made to attend two NA meetings a week for a year, plus 15 weekend-long, state-run drug classes (which he had to pay for). On top of this, a year-long curfew stopped him from attending school, and he had to report his arrest to his employer—and was therefore fired. Finding another job was hard, and James ended up working as a short-order cook. That’s the nutshell version; the full story is more extraordinary still.

As “James” puts it: "I could really see how someone could get caught 'in the system' and have a stigma attached to them, and, for people with, say, a high school diploma, why they would just resort to drug dealing, or worse, because the government prevented their ability to find a job due to this…It's sad that the government creates this group of 'drug offenders' who are not harming anyone, be it pot smokers or pill poppers, and then indirectly prevents them from getting jobs. Once you get something like this on your record, it is either start your own business or become under-employed."

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

I barely made it out of my troubled adolescence and I had resources; how can I help an underprivileged teen with everything stacked against him?

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv