The state of Washington has sued several opioid distributors. Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Incorporated, and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation. The lawsuit claims that these distributors failed to catch suspicious drug orders that were shipped into the state. The pills reportedly found their way into the illegal drug market and helped fuel Washington's opioid epidemic. According to the report, over 8,000 Washington residents died between 2006 and 2017 from opioid overdoses. Washington is the tenth state in the nation to file a lawsuit against major opioid distributors.
As a response to the nation's opioid epidemic, many states have implemented drug treatment court programs to help rehabilitate opioid addicts. Seattle drug defense lawyer Steve Karimi explains these alternative sentencing programs that are available to those convicted of opioid-related crimes in Washington.
Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts
The first drug court in Washington was founded in 1994. Today, there are 24 Adult Drug Courts and 13 Juvenile Drug Courts spread throughout the state. These courts are programs within the court system that consist of a team of professionals including judges, court personnel, medical personnel, law enforcement officials, state prosecutors, and defense attorneys. Individuals convicted of opioid-related non-violent crimes are selected to participate in the programs as an alternative to traditional jail sentences.
These programs aim to rehabilitate opioid-dependent participants through the completion of mandatory, court-ordered program treatment plans. While demanding, these programs are often an attractive alternative to serving a jail sentence.
Once selected for the program, the team of professionals works together to create a treatment plan that meets the medical and lifestyle needs of the participant. Typically, plans require that participants attend weekly court hearings, take drug and alcohol tests to ensure sobriety, pay restitution to crime victims, show proof of employment, and participate in community service.
If an individual fails to comply with their court-ordered treatment plan, they may be subject to reprimand or expulsion from the program. Removal from the program can result in the reinstatement of traditional sentencing punishments and the ineligibility to participate in alternative sentencing options in the future.
Upon an individual's successful completion of their treatment program, their opioid-related criminal conviction is removed from their record.
Family Treatment Court
There are currently 18 Family Treatment Courts in Washington. Family Treatment Courts are similar to Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts, except that they focus on rehabilitating opioid addicted parents. Family Treatment Court professionals identify individuals to participate in the program who have been convicted of child abuse and neglect stemming from drug dependency. Like in drug court programs, the participant must complete an individualized treatment plan. While the parent attends the program, the court provides safe interim housing and caretaking for the child. The court allows supervised parental visitation sessions throughout the program.
Contact Drug Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
If you are facing charges for an opioid-related crime in Washington, attorney Steve Karimi can help. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi online for a consultation today.