January 01, 2018

Best Practices and Recommendations: Judicial and Medical Perspectives on Cases Involving Addiction to Opioids

By Judge Stephanie Domitrovich and Jeffrey M. Jentzen

Developing a View of Addiction

Judicial and medical perspectives on handling cases involving addiction and deterring drug usage have varied and evolved over the years. The 1962 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Robinson v. California,1 one of the earliest and most insightful cases on a federal level to address addiction, offers various judicial and medical perspectives. In Robinson, the appellant had challenged the constitutionality of a California misdemeanor statute criminally punishing drug addicts for simply being addicted—no “other” crime or act needed to be involved. In fact, this California statute stated the addiction itself was the crime.

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