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The Legal Consequences of Being Involved with Drugs

People who take drugs often wind up in legal trouble. So not only do they have to deal with the consequences of being addicted to or abusing drugs, they can also waste years of their life in prison. I was recently speaking with a person who helps people find addiction help about crime and drugs. He said that the majority of the thousands of people he has helped have also had legal problems related to their drug use.

What can we expect?

Well, as of a few years ago, just as an example, about 30% of those in California prisons are there for drug crimes – a little more than ½ for possession, and the rest for sales. And that doesn’t include other crimes committed by someone on or involved with drugs like driving under the influence, or robberies, assault, property crimes, etc. that were committed by someone on or involved in drugs.

How many years of a life can be wasted in jail because of drugs?

  • For possession, the average time in prison is three years. For sales, it’s five.
  • Murder has an average sentence of 20 years months – and, in California, if you are involved in a crime where someone is murdered, even if the murder was committed by someone else and you didn’t even have a weapon, you get the same sentence
  • Sexual assault – which is quite commonly associated with drugs and alcohol – 10 years
  • Robbery – often associated with drugs – 8 years
  • Aggravated assault – also often associated with drugs or alcohol – 5 years
  • Burglary – again, lots of people on drugs burglarize – 5 years


Also, when people go to jail, unless they get into a drug rehab program, they’re likely to get back into the same criminal routine when they get out. In fact, their situations are even worse than they were before they went to jail – now they have a prison record and, because of that, their prospects in life are limited.

So … drugs and alcohol can ruin a person’s life in several ways:

  • The dangers of the drugs and alcohol from a physical standpoint
  • the loss of relationships
  • the loss of jobs
  • money problems
  • the possibility of getting caught with drugs, or getting involved in something illegal, like burglary, to get them
  • the many years the person could spend in prison because of it, and
  • how having been in prison affects their life when they get out.

It’s easy for a person to say “oh, that won’t happen to me,” or “that won’t happen to MY son”, but, really, that’s what everyone thought, right?


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