New Drug Possession Law
Oklahoma’s New Drug Possession Law
In the U.S., countless people struggle with behavioral and mental health issues. These issues can lead them to substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and other health risks. With the strong link between mental health and substance abuse, Oklahomans found it unrightfully to incarcerate a person for small possession of drugs. Question State 780 got passed, allowing the sentence for such crime to be dropped to a misdemeanor. However, voters wanted to also help prisoners who were in prison for small possession and had a lengthy sentence. People wrongfully sentenced for what is now considered a misdemeanor with more than 900 inmates still behind bars.
House Bill 1269 would allow nonviolent offenders to receive a lesser charge instead of having to be in prison for many years. A lesser sentence will also provide people with the opportunity to seek substance abuse and mental health assistance. People who suffer from addiction or other health issues should not have to also suffer through a long prison sentence when they might not have control of their drug use. If you or a loved one needs treatment for substance abuse, please call us at 405-583-4309.
Drug Possession in It’s Past in Oklahoma
Before any law related to possession passed, people caught with a small number of drugs became marked as felons and were incarcerated for a long sentence. In the past, individual states have passed various bills and reforms to lower the drug use numbers and holding users accountable. Although some have failed to more effectively assist with mental and substance use disorders. Research has shown that no real benefits come from incarceration in relation to minimizing drug use.
The new possession law, House Bill 1269, is meant to re-sentence and lower the criminal charge for nonviolent offenders who were found with a small amount of drugs under their possession. More than 900 inmates who were arrested prior to the Question State 780 bill, may benefit from the new law. It can also benefit taxpayers by saving them more than $21,000 a year for each inmate. In 2018, data showed that about 1,287 prisoners had no serious charge besides their possession convicting in Oklahoma. These people were able to lower their charge to a misdemeanor, possibly proving the impact voters and the state made a difference.
The New Possession Law’s Impact
Imagine having a substance abuse or mental disorder that influences your use of drugs and then getting stopped by a police officer. Before the Question State 780 bill, you would receive a felony charge and get a lengthy sentence in prison. A vast number of people had a similar experience which has a big impact on their life, in and after prison. Oklahomans hope to provide these offenders with an opportunity to still be able to live a normal life after prison and get the help they need. The law will not only help more than 900 prisoners but also lower the unnecessary incarceration cost for taxpayers.
Possession Law’s Effect on People
Unfortunately, mental and behavioral health may be linked to substance abuse. So for a number of prisoners with felony charges from drug possession, they might have been wrongfully sentenced. The new possession law would allow people’s charges to be dropped to misdemeanors, instead of having a felony under their name. Non-violent offenders will have the opportunity to get released from prison much sooner which can open up more doors for them. They can have the chance to get help with their drug issue and look for a job to begin a new life. As mentioned before, the new law will also help taxpayers by decreasing the amount spent per prisoner each year.
Effects from Possession Incarceration
People found with drug possession may be convicted for many years if not decades from a small crime. This can not only impact their health but also their chances of surviving when they finish their sentence. Once released, the ex-prisoner might have trouble finding employment or housing with having to disclose their felony status. Instead of being able to start a new fresh life, people might feel hopeless and turn to substance abuse.
Difficulties With Seeking Help
Seeking help for substance abuse treatment before any issues with the law might be difficult for some people. Those who have a drug addiction might not know they have an issue or if they do, they might be ashamed or scared. Some may not have a good support system or anyone to look to for help. Others may be unable to afford the cost of treatment which can stop them from even trying to seek help. Although, many options are available to help those who need treatment, but cannot obtain it on their own.
Possible Solutions For Possession and Drug Issues
Oklahoma, along with other states, has created numerous efforts to help the issue. To help people with substance abuse and other disorders, drug courts have expanded to better assist with treatment programs as appose to incarceration. With the new laws, people will be able to have a shorter sentence which can allow them to continue with their life sooner. These efforts may help prevent more wrongful sentences and might help the drug abuse issue. Treatment can make a huge difference to help an addict before they can end up in prison.
Overcome of New Possession Law
Addiction and mental health issues may have an overlapping effect on a person. When addicted to a substance, people might not have control of themselves or their life. For this reason and others, it is important to address the issue with possession charges. Oklahomans fought for the right of a lower possession conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor. Before this, people caught with a small amount of drugs could be locked up for many years without getting help or treatment they might need. Voters wanted to do more than prevent long sentences, they later fought to also help inmates to lessen their sentence, which would help more than 900 people.
Incarceration or death are not the only options addicts have. People can seek out treatment programs to prevent them from the path to a horrible outcome. Depending on the severity of your addiction and other factors, you are on your way to finding the right program. 30-day programs are best for mild addiction, 60-day for moderate, and 90-day for severe. To learn more about addiction treatment and other things relating to it, please call us at 405-583-4309.