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Methamphetamines: An Attorney Case Study

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Completion of this activity fulfills the California State Bar Rule 2.72 (A)(3) requirement by providing one hour of self-study credit in Competence Issues (formerly known as Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness). This lesson provides a true case study of an attorney's struggle with methamphetamines, the resulting misconduct, his resignation from the State Bar, and his recovery.

This activity was approved by the State Bar of California for the period: March 28, 2016 to March 27, 2018.

The State Bar of California Single Activity Provider number of Substance Abuse CLE is 15199.







Directions:

     1.  Read the following article.  You may also download and print the article using the link directly below.
methlessonarticleformat4-5-2016.pdf
Article: An Attorney's Struggle With Methamphetamine
     2.  Complete the fifteen-question self-evaluation after the article.
     3.  Submit your $15 payment using the PayPal button after the evaluation (you don't need a PayPal
          account to use PayPal).
     4.  After submitting your payment - DO NOT EXIT PAYPAL - you will see a link on the PayPal page to
          return to Substance Abuse CLE. Click on that link and it will return you to a webpage where you can
          download and print your Certificate of Completion, and check your answers.

          Don't worry if you do exit, simply email us at admin@substanceabusecle.com and we can email you
          your completion certificate.
 


Step 1.  Read the following Article:

 

AN ATTORNEY'S STRUGGLE WITH METHAMPHETAMINE

I.     Introduction

 

To satisfy your California MCLE requirement concerning competence issues in the past, you probably studied alcohol abuse and dependence. But attorneys have abused and become addicted to drugs other than alcohol. There are cases where lawyers and judges have abused cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs. Because most attorneys have already had classes relating to the prevention of alcohol abuse and addiction, this lesson will primarily focus on the true story of an attorney’s struggle with methamphetamine use and dependence.

 

A.     Professional Rules of Conduct

 

It is important to maintain awareness of problems relating to substance abuse and addiction in the legal profession, because drug and alcohol problems may interfere with attorneys’ professional responsibilities. Rule 3-110 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct (Failing to Act Competently) prohibits an attorney from intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly failing to perform legal services with competence.  Struggling with addiction issues can degrade an attorney’s effectiveness and competence, leading to his or her suspension or disbarment. In 2005, the California Bar Journal reported that 42 percent of the State Bar Court’s active caseload involved attorneys with chemical dependency or mental health issues. The California State Bar requires that practicing attorneys be made aware of this problem through continuing legal education. 

 

B.     MCLE Requirement

 

In California, attorneys must satisfy 25 hours of continuing legal education every three years.  One of those hours must be on Competence Issues (formerly known as Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness).  This lesson has been approved by the State Bar of California.  By completing this lesson, you will satisfy the one hour requirement pertaining to Competence Issues. 

 

In this lesson you will become familiar with facts about methamphetamine (“meth”) use and addiction; you will read a short, true case study about an attorney’s struggle with meth addiction that led to attorney misconduct; the actions of the State Bar, and the attorney’s efforts at rehabilitation

 

II.     Quick Facts About Methamphetamine

 

Why talk about meth? The U.S. Department of Justice says that meth abuse has become “a tremendous challenge for the entire Nation.” Meth abuse destroys families and threatens our communities. And as the true case study shows, persons who abuse meth include attorneys. Let’s take a brief look at meth in general to give the case study in the next section some context.   

 

         A.  Methamphetamine: What, How, and Why

 

Meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. It is often taken in combination with other drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.  Like heroin and cocaine, meth can be inhaled, injected, ingested, or smoked. Meth is classified as a central nervous system stimulant drug. Street meth is referred to by many names, such as speed, tweak, uppers, glass, bikers’ coffee, poor man's cocaine, chicken feed, and stove top. Methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is meth in clear chunky crystal form resembling ice, can be inhaled by smoking. This “crystal meth” is also referred to as ice, crank, crystal, tina, and glass.

 

Meth is similar in chemical structure to amphetamine. It was first synthesized in 1919 as a synthetic substitute for ephedrine. Although meth can be prescribed, its medical uses are limited. It is sometimes used in very low doses for the treatment of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically abused. Because it is so easily abused, meth is classified as a Schedule II drug, which means that it is only available through a doctor’s prescription that cannot be refilled.

 

Meth's high addiction risk and destructive health and social consequences make its abuse particularly dangerous. Meth acts by increasing the release of dopamine in the brain, which leads to feelings of euphoria. However, this pleasure high is followed by a severe low or "crash" that often leads to increased use of the drug. With continued use, some users may have difficulty feeling any pleasure at all, especially from natural rewards. Long-term meth abuse results in many damaging physical and psychiatric effects, such as: addiction, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, psychotic features (e.g. paranoia, hallucinations, delusions), and cardiovascular problems (e.g. rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, stroke).

 

Essentially, meth acts by changing how the brain works.  It also speeds up many functions in the body.  Smoking meth, which results in the drug acting quickly on the brain, has become common in recent years. This has amplified meth’s addiction potential and adverse health consequences.  Approximately 10 million people 12 years and older have abused meth in their lifetimes. It was reported in 2005 that approximately 500,000 people were current users.

Abuse has been especially noteworthy in certain areas of the country, particularly in Hawaii, California, rural areas of the West, and, more recently, the Midwest. 

 

B.  Symptoms of Meth Use

 

How can you tell if a friend is using meth? It may not be easy to tell. But there are signs for which you can look. Symptoms of meth use may include:

 

•             Inability to sleep

•             Increased sensitivity to noise

•             Nervous physical activity, like scratching

•             Irritability, dizziness, or confusion

•             Extreme anorexia

•             Tremors or even convulsions

•             Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of stroke

•             Presence of inhaling paraphernalia, such as razor blades, mirrors, and straws

•             Presence of injecting paraphernalia, such as syringes, heated spoons, or surgical tubing

 

With this basic background information, let us take a look at an actual case study that illustrates how the pattern of meth abuse and addiction can occur in an attorney’s life.

 

III.     Case Study

 

The case is taken from the Review Department of the State Bar of California. Though the decisions of the Review Department are available to the public, the attorney’s identity will be protected here, and he will be referred to as “Robert” - not his real name. The true facts that are described in this case illustrate the progression of addiction, and the struggles an addict often faces with recovery.

 

        A.     Findings of Fact

 

The findings of fact from Robert’s case indicate that in 1978, he was admitted to the practice of law in California. He established his own law practice and worked as a solo practitioner from 1978 through 1985 in a small, close-knit legal community in the Central Valley of California. Robert also worked with the local county public defender’s office on a part-time basis.

 

Robert’s long history of substance abuse began in 1966 with his use of marijuana while he was in high school.  He began using stimulants in 1967 when his doctor prescribed amphetamines for weight loss. But Robert continued using non-prescription amphetamines in 1969 while he attended junior college.  His use of non-prescription amphetamines continued through college and law school.

 

In 1980, two years after Robert was admitted to the bar, the pressure of his solo practice began to increase. Robert began using meth as a means of coping with self-esteem issues. He relied on meth to deal with the demands of operating his practice and meeting responsibilities to his six children and spouse.  He came to believe that he could not be a successful husband, father, and lawyer without meth.

 

Within a few years of his introduction to meth, Robert's use progressed to the point that it seriously affected his demeanor and ability to practice law. His behavior turned abrasive and he would become irritable for no apparent reason. During a criminal trial, Robert was unable to ask focused questions germane to the proceedings and he was observed making facial expressions uncontrollably. The trial judge commented that he believed Robert was taking drugs.

 

Robert managed to hide his drug use from his spouse and children for several years, but by 1982 – four years after graduating from law school - he realized that he was addicted. By August, 1982 Robert's need for meth was so out of control that he began diverting funds from a client account to finance his drug addiction. By November, 1983 Robert depleted the account after misappropriating $52,430. In order to hide his wrongdoing, Robert used his own funds to pay the client's expenses, but by March, 1984, after exhausting his personal funds, Robert informed the client's conservator that there were no more funds in the account due to his mismanagement.

 

By 1984 Robert was using an eighth of an ounce of methamphetamine daily and drinking alcohol, which he used to “take the edge off” the drug. Robert confessed his addiction to his wife and repeatedly attempted to stop using meth. But he could not quit for longer than a few months before resuming use. His wife divorced him. After several unsuccessful attempts to quit on his own, Robert admitted himself to an in-patient chemical abuse treatment center in June, 1985.

 

Robert participated in a month-long in-patient treatment plan. Following in-patient treatment, Robert attended weekly meetings for approximately six months consisting of group counseling based on the twelve-step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA is a fellowship of men and women who assist one another to stay sober. Members are encouraged to follow the “Twelve Steps” to recovery, which suggest ideas and actions intended to assist members in developing healthy emotions in order to remain sober.

 

In July, 1985, Robert sent a letter to the State Bar admitting to ethical violations. He was charged and pled guilty to a felony violation of embezzlement. In October, 1986, the superior court suspended imposition of a two-year prison term and placed Robert on probation for five years on the conditions that he pay restitution and submit to drug and alcohol testing.

 

Unfortunately, three months into his probationary term, Robert suffered a relapse. His January, 1987, urine sample tested positive for meth. A week later police arrested Robert at his home, and seized 1.8 grams of meth from his bedroom.

 

With criminal charges pending, Robert tendered his resignation to the State Bar, effective February, 1987.  He was charged with, and pled guilty to, a felony violation of possession of meth. His probation in the prior embezzlement matter was revoked. In March, 1987 Robert was sentenced to two years in state prison on the original embezzlement charge as well as two years in state prison on the possession conviction to run concurrently.

 

Robert last used meth in January, 1987, but it was not until he was behind bars that he made the commitment to rehabilitation. While in county jail awaiting transport to state prison, Robert started a physical fitness regimen consisting of walking, jogging, and weight lifting. He continued his work outs throughout his imprisonment and after his release. After his release from prison in February 1988, Robert was placed on parole for three years and randomly tested for controlled substances. All test results were negative, and Robert was discharged from parole after the first year due to good behavior.

 

Aside from his random drug testing upon his release from prison, Robert also participated in an after-care program by attending weekly meetings for approximately six weeks.  He found benefit in attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, because he was impressed that other attendees of the meetings had achieved lengths of sobriety spanning 20 to 35 years.   He incorporated the program’s twelve steps into his daily life, and gradually reduced the frequency of attendance to about one meeting every one or two months. He recognized that attending more often when he experienced high levels of stress in his life provided benefit. 

 

After being released from prison, Robert worked as a law clerk, a contract paralegal and an administrative manager. He paid restitution for the money he misappropriated and made amends to his family. He also became active in community service, and continued to exercise regularly. Seeing that Robert was committed to his continuing sobriety, his ex-wife forgave him and they remarried six years after his release from prison.

 

Robert filed his petition for reinstatement in December, 2002 and a three day hearing was held one year later in December, 2003.  Robert’s case included the testimony of nine witnesses and 19 good character letters from attorneys, former employers, friends, and his wife and children. In rebuttal, the State Bar presented an addiction expert who had not been permitted to examine Robert. The expert testified that, in his opinion, Robert had not demonstrated sufficient recovery because he continued to drink one alcoholic beverage per week. 

 

The hearing judge filed her decision in February 2004, finding that Robert’s personal recovery program was successful in keeping him off of drugs for more than seventeen years and that his use of alcohol did not cause him to suffer any drug relapse. The hearing judge recommended Robert's reinstatement to the practice of law, finding that Robert had demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that he was rehabilitated, that he possessed the present moral qualifications for readmission, and that he had the requisite learning and ability in the general law.  The State Bar sought review of that decision and recommendation. At the end of this lesson we’ll find out if the State Bar was successful in keeping Robert out of the legal profession.

 

        B.     Lessons Learned From the Case Study

 

One of the first interesting facts presented by the case study is Robert’s pathway to meth use. He did not just begin using meth out of the blue. While Robert experimented with marijuana during high school, it appears that Robert’s medical use of prescription amphetamines is what eventually led him to meth. About 47% of meth abusers also report that they previously abused prescription stimulants.

 

Recall that later Robert also consumed alcohol. Most meth addicts use marijuana or alcohol along with meth. Treatment professionals advise those recovering from meth addiction to totally abstain from marijuana and alcohol. This is because research studies have shown that people who have become addicted to stimulants such as meth and cocaine, but who fail to stop alcohol and marijuana use, have great difficulty achieving abstinence from stimulants. In fact, you will recall that during Robert’s reinstatement hearing, one adverse expert testified that Robert was in denial about his recovery as evidenced by his continued alcohol consumption.

 

Why did Robert begin to use meth? Some people use meth for the strong “rush” they obtain from smoking or injecting the drug. Other people use meth to help them lose weight or to give them an energy boost so they can work more. Athletes and students sometimes begin using meth because it makes them feel like they are doing better in sports or schoolwork. Initially, meth gives them more energy to practice sports and to study for longer periods of time. For instance, recall that tennis star Andre Agassi admitted to the use of crystal meth. But most often there is a terrible price to be paid for this performance boost.

 

In Robert’s case, he began using amphetamines for weight loss under a doctor’s supervision. He soon learned that using stimulants like amphetamines gave him a high, which he relied upon to help him study in college and law school. Later, when faced with the growing demands of his professional and personal life, Robert turned toward a more powerful stimulant – meth. Meth works in the brain and gives users a sense of energy that can make them push their bodies faster and further than they are meant to go. Just small amounts of meth can cause a person to be more awake and active. Compared with cocaine, the effects of crystal meth last longer, and can keep the user on a “high” for 12 hours.

 

Studies have shown significant but relatively small associations between stress in the workplace and substance abuse, though these studies have concentrated on alcohol use. For example, one early study reported that employees' reasons for drinking alcohol were found to be associated with stress-inducing job characteristics, but the correlations were weak. A national survey of employed persons found that lower job satisfaction and higher job stress both were risks for increased drinking. Another study found significant associations between employee alcohol use and lower job satisfaction, less faith in management, and lower involvement with and commitment to the job. There are significant associations between drinking and job burnout, and negative associations between employee drinking behavior and job autonomy and job satisfaction. These studies suggest that work related job stress and job dissatisfaction induce higher rates of alcohol consumption.

 

Robert’s selection of meth as the drug of his choice is also interesting. Note that Robert did not abuse another stimulant, like cocaine. Robert’s choice of meth may stem from the fact that he lived and worked in a small community in California’s Central Valley. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, meth has become the most dangerous drug problem of small-town America. Youth in small towns are more than twice as likely to use meth than young people living in larger cities. That’s because meth can be made cheaply in small neighborhood laboratories. These labs can be set up in homes, motel rooms, inside automobiles, and in parks or rural areas. Many of these labs are not sophisticated operations and do not require elaborate chemistry equipment. Though the process is highly dangerous and toxic, making meth is relatively simple. The people who “cook” meth usually lack chemistry training. Meth is created with common household items such as batteries and cold medicine, which can be purchased in local stores.

 

We observed from the facts that Robert tried to quit many times before his imprisonment, but he was not successful. There are many reasons for this. First, the treatment for meth addiction can be hard to find in small towns. Rural communities often have fewer health facilities and treatment options than larger cities. This means that meth users may find it hard to get the help they need.  Second, meth is dangerously addictive. When the high wears off, people who use meth go through a severe "crash."

 

Withdrawal from meth occurs when a chronic abuser stops taking the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for more meth. Individuals who believe that they will only use meth once or twice can become addicted, just like those who abuse crack cocaine. On the other hand, people who experiment with meth once or twice and do not become quickly addicted, may falsely believe that they can continue to use meth without the fear of addiction. But the more they use meth, the greater the chance of addiction.

 

You may have noted how Robert’s demeanor and ability to practice law was affected by his meth use. Recall that he also turned abrasive and irritable. At times he could not focus and he exhibited strange mannerisms. In the long term, a person using meth may experience irritability, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, confusion, aggressive feelings, violent rages, cravings for more meth, and depression. Heavy meth users may become psychotic and experience paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions. The paranoia may lead to homicidal or suicidal thoughts.

 

Chronic meth abuse significantly changes the brain.  Brain imaging studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that is associated with reduced motor speed and impaired verbal learning. Recent studies in chronic meth abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory.   

 

Robert reported that he found benefit in the 12-step program. This is consistent with research showing that the 12-step program can greatly assist substance users in achieving and sustaining recovery. One study shows that meth users who became involved with 12-step programs had better treatment outcomes than those who did not. Through the twelve-step ideology, patients discover a new way of living that supports them in breaking the cycle of addiction and in maintaining abstinence. 

 

As part of his personal rehabilitation, Robert felt he needed to embark upon a physical training routine. This is because meth abuse can lead to devastating effects on the body. Meth use creates a false sense of energy. As a result, meth users push their bodies faster and further than it’s meant to go.

One of the most important points to be learned from our case study is that addiction to drugs, such as methamphetamine, is often progressive.  A person does not intend to be a drug addict, but soon dependence on the drug results. The user experiences a tremendous craving for the drug, and may require higher doses of the same drug to get the effect they crave. As the addiction develops over time, the user experiences negative physical, emotional, and social changes that are often cumulative. Once addicted, a user’s attempts to quit on his or her own often meets with failure.

 

IV.     Treatment and Assistance for Attorneys

 

          A.  Meth Users in Detoxification

 

To begin the recovery from meth addiction, users must first abstain from meth use. This may create withdrawal symptoms that last about two weeks.  Unlike withdrawal from alcohol, meth withdrawal is not, by itself, medically dangerous.  However, the withdrawal from meth creates unique problems different from the problems faced by people who are dependent on other drugs, such as alcohol and heroin. 

 

The harmful physical effects associated with prolonged meth use may require immediate medical treatment. These include infections, such as abscesses from injecting meth, or skin infections from deep scratching and picking at imaginary bugs. Physical problems from smoking meth from a pipe include lung problems (painful or difficult breathing) and burns. Meth users who also manufacture their own meth sometimes suffer from chemical burns.

 

You may have heard the term "meth mouth" which refers to the devastating dental problems that often accompany prolonged meth use. Meth mouth is simply the terrible rotting and deterioration of the teeth and the onset of gum disease. If you enter the phrase "meth mouth" into any popular internet search engine, you can find very shocking and graphic photographs of this horrible condition. But please do not undertake such a search if you have a weak stomach. Meth mouth is caused by several factors, which are the acidic nature of the drug, lowered saliva production, meth related cravings for sweet, sugary junk food, and poor dental hygiene. If these problems are left untreated, the pain or continuing discomfort from meth mouth has in some instances triggered a relapse.

 

Meth users tolerate the wasting away of their teeth and gums though the numbing of the mouth associated with meth use. But once the meth use is stopped, the pain may become unbearable, depending on the severity of the dental deterioration. The availability of dental care may be critical for a meth addict in recovery, because they may not be able to afford dental care. But without proper care they may suffer self-esteem issues and feel the need to avoid work and social settings.

 

Meth users have often been involved in unwise conduct that placed them at risk for a variety of infections. These include HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and hepatitis C. As part of a recovery program, meth users must receive careful screening and treatment for these infections.

 

In addition to physical problems, meth addicts in withdrawal may experience psychiatric and emotional issues. A common psychiatric issue faced by people withdrawing from meth is depression. Since meth impacts the dopamine system, which controls the feeling of pleasure, the sudden refrain from meth use may result in significant feelings of depression. Also, meth use is known to cause psychotic symptoms, such as paranoid delusions that lead to panic attacks. Other psychotic symptoms include auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations. These issues must be addressed during treatment.

 

The neurocognitive impact of withdrawal from meth includes feelings of confusion, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and memory problems. Early in the recovery process, users may have trouble making effective decisions due to meth’s impact on the prefrontal cortex. Recovering meth addicts may require assistance with scheduling, and making important decisions about complicated issues.

 

         B.     Treatment for Meth Addiction

 

Eighty percent of the individuals who receive treatment for meth addiction in California are treated on an outpatient basis. The most effective treatments for meth addiction are usually those that combine behavioral therapy with family education, individual counseling, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for nondrug-related activities. There are currently no specific medications that counteract the effects of meth or that can prolong abstinence. However, a study shows that certain anti-depressants may reduce the meth-induced "high" and the strong cravings for the drug. 

 

         C.     Assistance for Attorneys

 

The services described below are just a few of the assistance programs that can be used to obtain help for substance abuse or addiction related problems.

 

                  1.     Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP)

 

The Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) was established by the California Legislature. It is a confidential service of the State Bar of California.  The LAP provides assistance to attorneys suffering from substance abuse, other compulsive behaviors, and/or mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety.  Services provided by LAP include: individual counseling, expert assessment and consultation, assistance with arrangements for intensive treatment, monitored continuing care, random lab testing, professionally facilitated support groups, and peer support groups.  The program also works with family members, friends, colleagues, judges and other court staff who wish to obtain help for an impaired attorney.  Financial assistance is available so that no one is prevented from participating in the program due to financial limitations.

 

Attorneys may refer themselves into LAP, or may be referred as the result of an investigation or disciplinary proceeding. Participation in the LAP is strictly and absolutely confidential. Attorneys may call a toll free number to learn more about the LAP: 877-LAP 4 HELP (877-527-4435).

 

                  2.     The Other Bar

 

The Other Bar is a network of recovering lawyers and judges throughout California, dedicated to assisting others within the profession who are suffering from alcohol and substance abuse problems. It is a private, non-profit corporation funded by the State Bar and private donations. The organization is founded on the principle of anonymity and provides services in strict confidentiality. The program is voluntary and open to all California lawyers, judges and law students. More information can be found on the organization’s website at http://www.otherbar.org/aboutus.html.

 

                  3.     National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service

 

The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service provides a toll-free telephone number, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), offering various resource information. Through this service you can speak directly to a representative concerning substance abuse treatment, request printed material on alcohol or other drugs, or obtain local substance abuse treatment referral information in your State.

 

V.     Reinstatement to the California Bar

 

Let’s return to our case study to see whether Robert was reinstated. As you recall, Robert was initially reinstated following his hearing. But the State Bar appealed, arguing, among other things, that Robert had not established his rehabilitation from his meth addiction that led to his misconduct. 

 

According to State Bar Court Rule 9.10(f) (formerly Rule 951(f)), in order to be reinstated, a petitioner must pass a professional responsibility examination, demonstrate rehabilitation, present moral qualifications and establish present ability and learning in the general law.  To prove rehabilitation, “a petitioner needs to show a recognition of his or her wrongdoing” In the Matter of Distefano, 1 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 668, 674 (Review Dept. 1991), as well as proof of sustained exemplary conduct since resignation from the bar, In the Matter of Bodell, 4 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 459, 468 (Review Dept. 2002).

 

In Robert’s case, he passed a professional responsibility examination in November 2002. But the State Bar did not believe Robert had proved his rehabilitation.  To establish rehabilitation, a petitioner must show proof of “sustained exemplary conduct over an extended period of time.” In re Petty, 29 Cal.3d 356, 362 (1981).   How long is an “extended” period of time? That depends on the facts. When the petitioner engaged in “a serious and protracted pattern of egregious abuse of client trust,” the petitioner must show a “substantial period of exemplary conduct” to make a showing of rehabilitation. In re Gossage, 23 Cal.4th 1080, 1096 (2000) (emphasis added). “The passage of an appreciable period of time” constitutes an “appropriate consideration” in determining whether a petitioner has made sufficient progress towards rehabilitation,” but the court refrains from identifying a specific number of years. In the Matter of Rudman, 2 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 546, 558 (Review Dept. 1993). 

 

The Review Department of the State Bar Court is not interested “just in counting the correct number of years” for measuring a petitioner's rehabilitation.” In the Matter of Bodell, 4 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. at 464.  The critical analysis is to “assess the quality of petitioner’s showing in light of his very serious misconduct . . . .” Id. Thus, the petitioner’s burden is to present clear and convincing evidence so that the court may assess the quality of petitioner's showing of rehabilitation in light of the misconduct.

 

In Robert’s case, nine character witnesses testified, including attorneys and a judge. Most held favorable opinions of Robert, his rehabilitation, and his present moral fitness. The evidence was undisputed that Robert had not used meth for seventeen years. He adhered to his own recovery program which combined exercise with elements of the twelve step program from Alcoholics Anonymous.  Although he continued to drink alcohol once a week, there was no evidence that he abused alcohol, or that his limited alcohol consumption ever caused him to relapse into meth use. During Robert’s personalized recovery program he demonstrated the ability to competently and punctually complete his work, manage financial and other fiduciary duties as an administrative manager, take care of his health, and foster his personal relationships, all of which had suffered due to his drug abuse.

 

Robert was reinstated to State Bar.

 

VI.     Conclusion

 

Methamphetamine increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and severe dental problems and addiction.

 

The essence of drug addiction is the uncontrollable, compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences. Though a drug user may initially begin with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time the user’s ability to choose not to do so is compromised. Eventually, seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. This behavior results largely from the effects of prolonged drug exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

 

Attorneys concerned about substance abuse or addiction may seek help by contacting the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) at 877-LAP 4 HELP (877-527-4435), or by contacting the Other Bar, whose website is at:

http://www.otherbar.org.


[For a list of references, download the article.]

methlessonarticleformat4-5-2016.pdf
Article: An Attorney's Article With Methamphetamine

Step 2.  Complete the Following Self-Evaluation:


 

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Don't worry if you do exit, simply email us at admin@substanceabusecle.com and we can email you your completion certificate.




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