A Delaware man was recently arrested after he jumped on top of a vehicle that had been stopped at the red light of a busy intersection, and the man then decided to take of his clothes. When the police arrived to get the man off of the car's roof, the partially naked man taunted and spit at the officers. This all occurred at 4:15 p.m. in the afternoon. Not so surprisingly, the police believe that drug use, namely PCP, was a precipitating factor in the man's behavior.
State College Drug Use and Getting Naked
Being a defense attorney in State College and right next to a major university, I deal with a lot of drug-related cases, from misdemeanor possession to felony drug distribution and possession with intent to deliver. The vast majority of my drug cases involve marijuana, but I do represent clients that are involved with more severe drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, Molly, and prescription drugs. In cases involving psychedelics, like mushrooms and LSD, there is often additional criminal conduct aside from the drug possession charges. For example, a few years ago a Penn State student was naked in public, and when the State College police officers tried to intervene, he wrestled with the one officer and broke his rib. The man was charged with felony Aggravated Assault and related charges in Centre County. It was later revealed that the man was most likely under the influence of LSD when this happened. Synthetic acid is believed to have to been used in the recent death caused by a fall from the balcony of a State College apartment. These are two examples of college students recreationally using drugs to party, and things obviously went completely wrong. I admit that I am not a huge proponent of the complete legalization of marijuana, but I do not see many of my marijuana using clients getting into fights with other people, taking off their clothes, or engaging in any other criminal activity.
Drug Addiction and Related Crimes
Some people's use of drugs has transformed from recreational use to drug addiction and abuse. Drug addiction obviously leads to a direct violation of the law as drug possession for personal use is a misdemeanor offense in Pennsylvania, generally punishable by up to 1 year in jail, $5,000.00 fine, and a license suspension. Drug addiction also often leads to the violation of other law. For example, a recent spree of burglaries in State College is related to heroin addiction. People that are addicted to heroin often cannot afford to pay for the drug, so they resort to robbery, retail theft, and burglary to get money or merchandise to exchange for the drugs. People addicted to prescription medications sometimes break into homes to steal medications, or they often resort to forging prescriptions and taking those forgeries to pharmacies. Some drug addicts also resort to distributing drugs to obtain money. A prominent defense attorney in Pennsylvania was recently disbarred after he was charged with delivering prescription pills to an undercover Philadelphia detective. Drugabuse and addiction affects people in all walks of life.
In order to help people with drug addiction and related issues, many counties across Pennsylvania have created rehabilitative programs called Drug Courts. Such specialty courts place an large emphasis on counseling and rehabilitation in exchange for a more lenient criminal sentence. Centre County has a DUI Court program in place, and despite the program's relative infancy, it has been effective in rehabilitating some repeat DUI-offenders and thereby making the streets in Happy Valley a safer place. There is also discussion about creating a Drug Court in Centre County, and I hope that such a court is created. Such a court program could reduce the number of non-violent drug offenders that are clogging up our prisons. Also, a Centre County drug court could be used to avoid sending Penn State students charged with marijuana delivery offenses to prison and having them graduate with felony charges on their records.