Mental Health can lead to breaking the law







From law abiding citizen to criminal

Let’s discuss how substance abuse can take you into a whole new world.

John drinks regularly and over the past few years his consumption has skyrocketed.  Is John a bad guy?  Heck no, he coaches his kid’s footy team, he goes to Church at Christmas and he gives to the Good Friday Appeal.

So why is John looking at doing a stint in prison?   He drove his vehicle whilst over .05 and crashed, killing 2 others in the car he collided with.  John wasn’t the only driver at fault, as the other driver went through a red light, but his own blood alcohol reading has him facing some extremely serious charges and it will be up to the court to decide if he goes to jail.

If he is convicted, he will have this conviction recorded against his name for the rest of his life.   He will face losing his job, possibly losing his family and losing his freedom.   Two people lost their lives in this accident.

John didn’t believe he would be over .05 so drove thinking he was ok.  However, his reading told a different story, which reinforces the way we misjudge things when we are affected by drugs or alcohol.

The Justice System around substance abuse

Unfortunately, substance abuse is only one part of what can sometimes be a long list of charges you are facing.  The reality of facing a court is very intimidating and if it is your first appearance you may have a chance of the court being lenient in relation to the outcome.

However, frequent offenders are dealt with more seriously and the court takes a very dim view of those who offend without regard to the consequences of their behaviour.

Rehab treatment to avoid jail time

In Australia, many addicts, facing charges related to drugs are seeking rehab treatment before they appear before the court.  The courts hear the same story and see the same pattern of behaviour.

A client recently contacted me.  Her ex-husband required rehab as he had been charged with aggravated assault.  In his boozy rampage he stabbed his brother and his brother was seriously injured.  His solicitor had advised him to prove to the court that he was aware of his drinking problem and seek professional help.  He was in jail on remand and required a rehab centre that had the accreditation to have him remanded into their custody to begin undergoing treatment.

This strategy may or may not create favour with the court and it is a shame that this alcoholic didn’t recognise the years he lost before he actively sought help.

Crime and drugs/alcohol

What would crime in Australia look like if we didn’t abuse substances?  Substance abuse is like turning up the temperature on life and when the pressure gets too much, the drugs of choice used to make our world happy, suddenly impair us from using the emotional controls needed to live in a society with rules.

Domestic Violence involving drugs and alcohol

Alcohol and drugs change a person.  One of the worst crimes is a crime against your own family.   Domestic violence exists everywhere, and Australia is not an exception.

Fuelled by alcohol and drugs tensions in a household can blow up quickly.  Alcohol and drugs change our thought processes, our emotional responses and can lead to bad decisions.

Substance abuse is growing in Australia

Some of the abused substances are in fact legal in Australia, however, are not intended to be consumed at their current levels or be mixed with other legal or illegal substances.

Crimes associated with substance abuse

Taking drugs in Australia is illegal, including smoking cannabis.  Substance abuse can lead into crime – based on the need to find the money to purchase the drugs or because the availability of the drugs is associated with crime.

For example:

  • Prostitution
  • Theft
  • Trafficking
  • Intimidation/extortion
  • Violence
  • Handling stolen good
  • Sexual offences such as rape

Alcohol in Australia is legal, but there are strict laws in place around how we behave when drinking.  Crimes associated with alcohol abuse can include:

  • Drink driving
  • Violence
  • Public nuisance including drunk and disorderly
  • Sexual offences such as rape

Drugs and alcohol abuse in our young

Nightclubs offer the environment where our youth can easily score. A mixture of drugs and alcohol can lead to an outcome you may not have anticipated.

Growing up today with all the temptations, the taboos and the social pressures puts our youth in the firing line.  These days our youth is looking for a fast track and sneaking a peck at a church dance doesn’t cut it anymore.

Rehab for addiction and substance abuse

Rehab does not mean failure.  It means you are taking responsibility and taking the first step to getting better and starting YOUR new life.

If you are serious about finding help for your addiction, then reach out and take control.

Private Rehab vs Public Rehab in Australia

The wait list in Australia for public rehab can be long, which pushes those seeking rehab for substance abuse into the private rehab sector.  Private rehab is not free and must be paid for before entering the program.  Treatment at private rehab varies from clinic to clinic but the aim is always the same, with the goal to ensure the patient/addict gets well.

Money for rehab

Money for rehab may be the difficult part, once you have made the decision to get help. Avenues could include:-

  • Money from personal savings
  • A loan
  • Releasing money under compassionate grounds from your super.


Our Reporter

Release My Super