I recently received an e-letter from a local sheriff’s department featuring its alternative sentencing unit. In it was a quote from a specialist who placed an alcohol monitor on a homeless man in his 60’s. The defendant had been drinking since age 13.
The article went on to say that he miraculously quit drinking. He was healthier than ever and had later secured part-time employment as well as a home. He was forever grateful.
Yes, I am glad there was a miraculous turnaround. I am even more relieved that the man is still among the living.
The Dangers of Quiting Abruptly
More often than not, chronic drinkers who quit drinking experience withdrawal symptoms beginning within a few hours. They experience excessive sweating, nausea, anxiety, and an inability to sleep or eat properly.
More seriously they can exhibit delirium tremens more commonly referred to a DTs. Which can be accompanied by rapid heartbeat, seizures, and blood pressure reaching dangerously high levels. All of these symptoms can be life-threatening.
Frank Kopczynski, owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring states, “As a former hospital administrator, we had an entire wing dedicated to properly detoxing and treating severe alcoholism. It’s important to closely monitor patients due to the extreme and potentially life-threatening withdrawal effects associated with quitting.”
Evaluation and Care First
Courts and ASU units should be aware that these defendants should be under medical supervision first. More importantly, before mandating a cam unit forcing them to stop drinking abruptly.
Criminal defense attorneys for these defendants should prepare to make an argument against imposing a cam unit. Especially if their client has not been examined by medical staff.
The defendant may have to go through detoxification before being able to comply with any alcohol-related conditions of release. The good news is, according to the NIDA article, “alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be managed successfully.”
We do not mean to pick on this well-meaning specialist. Given this information, the criminal defense attorneys must fight hard when ASU units try forcing clients into treatment without proper evaluation and care first. If you are unaware of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) or you or a loved one need resources please visit our resources and recovery page.