HI, I know someone who was a drug addict, but clean for about 2 years. He was arrested for helping a friend of a friend by giving some of his no longer needed suboxone for withdraw. True not the smartest thing to do, but he didn't do it for money, just to help. He was finally getting his life together! Anyway, when it went to court, he was offered the option to do a diversion program, (first offense) based on a doctors notes and clean of meds to qualify in the program. Having been clean of all meds, except for xanax, which he stopped using as soon as he found out the conditions. The doctor knowing this info, wrote a note to the courts stating that he did not advise for him to get off the xanax (which he stopped taking a few weeks prior). As such the courts used the doctors letter to reject him from the diversion program and ended up having no choice but to plead guilty with no trial or appeal and 1 to 4 years of parol. The guy lost his scholarships to school, has debt from court and school fees he now has to pay and basically will never be able to get a job. His life is ruined. He made a stupid mistake, but he doesn't deserve this. What should he do? Sue the doctor? Help please!
I know you don't want to hear this but your friend is in jail because of the distribution of controlled substances, not because of the doctor didn't run to his rescue (which the doctor has no obligation to do).
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So how exactly is the doctor responsible? The doctor provided medical information that stated he thought his patient should continue treatment for anxiety/panic issues. The COURT decided the diversion wouldn’t work. It is amazing how ( yes I’ll be mean) it’s everybody else’s fault. He didn’t have to plead guilty, he could have gone to prison.... saying he will never get a job, I just don’t buy that... but in the end the consequences of his action are based on what he did. The opioid epidemic has forced things on all of us. Sorry but he’ll just need to make the best of this.
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First, nobody forced him to plead guilty. He could have rolled the dice and gone to trial. Second, what is the basis for your statement that he has "no appeal"? While plea appeals present fewer issues (and even fewer if an appeal waiver was part of the plea bargain), an appeal is still possible. Third, my out-of-state colleagues are correct that the doctor is blameless here; your expectation seems to be that the doctor--a licensed professional governed by a code of ethics--should have issued an inaccurate and dishonest opinion. Fourth, diversion in New York is designed to offer a way to recovery for defendants with the potential to succeed, and who agree to the rigorous conditions required. Being on a controlled substance is not a permitted condition. I don't think the program would take a methadone user.
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Your friend lost his scholarship and is in debt because he became a drug addict and a dealer ( giving a controlled substance to someone is considered a sale). Hopefully, he is no longer a drug addict. If so, his life has been saved not ruined. He may even be eligible in ten years to have his conviction sealed. In the meantime, he should realize he is lucky to be alive and his future is what he makes of it. If he had scholarships to school he is obviously a very capable young man. I wish him great success. He would certainly not be the first convicted drug addict to go on to be successful in life or the last.
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I don’t have all the facts, so it would be impossible to give an opinion that help your friend, if there is even anything that can be done at this point. However, I agree with the other attorneys. It Is certainly not the doctor’s fault.
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