The Legal Consequences of Abusing Drugs

Most people are familiar with the physical consequences of using drugs, such as a loss of weight, appetite, and the deterioration in overall appearance. There are also behavioral changes, which range from paranoia to increased agitation and aggression. However, what is less known about drugs such as heroin or crack is the legal consequences of using them. While drug laws tend to be lighter on those that use as opposed to those that sell, they can still be severe depending on the jurisdiction.

You May Be Denied Government Benefits

Those who abuse drugs are in violation of various government assistance programs such as SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They could also lose the cash benefits which are provided through the TANF or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families system. While most states do have the option of altering the ban or opting out, the ban can last for a lifetime for those who have felony convictions which are related to drugs. These felonies could result from simply being found with drugs on their person, including marijuana. These laws can be devastating for low income drug users, who often have a spotty work history, are uneducated and who have a hard time finding work due to a recession.

You Can Be Denied Financial Aid

Drug addicts are routinely told to get their lives together, to stop using drugs, get an education, and find quality employment. Unfortunately, this can be challenging to do when you consider the fact those who have drug convictions on their record can be denied financial aid. College costs have become higher than ever, with tuition for even state colleges being outside the price range of many working class and low income families. Financial aid is one of the few ways that students from disadvantaged backgrounds can afford to educate themselves, so it is truly foolish to lose it as resulting of abusing drugs.

You Can Be Restricted From Public Housing

There are federal regulations on the books which restrict access to public housing for individuals who have a history of drug problems or convictions. Additionally, you don’t have to be arrested for these laws or actually convicted; you could be held liable if it’s suspected that you abused drugs. Again, such laws can be disastrous to low income individuals who already have a hard time making ends meet.

A Criminal Record Lasts For A Lifetime

The ABA, or American Bar Association, has discovered more than 40,000 legal barriers which result from having a criminal record related to drugs. In addition to the restrictions mentioned in this article, those with felony drug offenses will also be unable to acquire a passport and travel outside the U.S. While some have sought to eliminate these restrictions, to many they are justifiable.

Life is already hard, particularly if you come from a dysfunctional, disadvantaged background, so why amplify the difficulty by using a substance that will bring about so much pain and misery? Drugs ruin your health; the relationships you have with your friends and family, and if you overdose can ultimately end your life. When you sum up all the legal consequences, is using drugs really worth it?