Interviewer: Are marijuana users today compared to back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, are these hardened criminals? Are you seeing different kind of individuals, college student, teachers, etc.?
Eric Sachs: No, not so much. The marijuana users, most of the ones that we see are the typical people doing silly stuff. They are smoking marijuana on the beach or on the streets or whatever else and people complain about it so the police are looking for it because, again, like everything else, when you’re out in the open and people have their kids, you certainly don’t want your kids subjected to people smoking marijuana because you don’t want your kids to smoke marijuana. It’s not a regular cigarette. We have a tremendous campaign on TV right now about people stopping smoking tobacco.You don’t want to have this in the open. Then depending on what’s happening and where it comes out to be, you do occasionally find the suppliers, but those are not what it used to be. I think unfortunately most of the suppliers are not getting arrested. It’s most of the users that get arrested.
People from All Walks of Life Can be Subject to a Drug Related Charge in New York
Interviewer: Have you ever seen that before, a professional, an individual who’s not the typical slacker stoner character profile but someone who is more at a professional level? Do you deal with those clients as well?
Eric Sachs: Absolutely. Those are the people that come into my office, the doctors, the lawyers, the accounts, the professionals, as they were. The teachers. It’s summertime, it’s the weekend. It’s of course people look at marijuana as just such a victimless crime but it’s the kind of thing that when you look at somebody, we like to think that marijuana was the college kids’ crime, as it were, but by the time you’re 21 or 25 years old, when you see this going on, my question to these people is, “Really? You’re still doing that? You didn’t outgrow that yet?”
It’s still out there. There’s still people in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s smoking pot.
People Usually Start with Marijuana as a Gateway Drug and then Progress to Using Cocaine, Heroin, Vicodin, etc.
We were saying we tend to try and put age groups into the drugs of choice. Unfortunately, our young individuals, our young kids, the college kids, the high school kids, the recent graduates, you have marijuana and they still get involved in looking for the buzz using cocaine and heroin, Vicodin. Then as you get into the 30’s and 40’s you start to see more of the pills, less of the marijuana. Again, those are people who tend to get addicted to the Xanax. The Ambien now is out there. That’s a nice little drug out there of choice that, I can’t sleep. We see now on television, whoever heard of people advertising drugs on television when we were growing up? Now it’s all drugs on TV and you’re supposed to go and you’re supposed to ask your doctor to prescribe these drugs for you.
People Get Prescription Drugs prescribed from a Doctor and Then Sell it Amongst Themselves
You can’t sleep? There’s a drug. You can’t stay awake, there’s a drug. Anything you have there’s a drug for that and you’re supposed to ask your doctor and the doctors give it to us. Then we get hooked on it. We sell it to people. We trade it with people. People drive under the influence of these things, get themselves in all sorts of trouble, and it just keeps escalating from there.We see, depending on which age group it is, where Middle America is, will depend on what the latest drug is. That’s been an interesting evolution watching that happen, from the marijuana to the cocaine to the Oxycodone to the Xanax to the Ambien to the Ritalin to the different types of speed. Just watching people … It used to be a cup of coffee was enough. Now it’s something else. It seems you can get everything you want. Just ask a doctor for it and it gets prescribed and then people sell it amongst themselves.
Immediate Requirements of an Alleged Drug Related Offender
Interviewer: When you work with an individual like that, what is their state of mind? What are their immediate needs when they meet with you?
Eric Sachs: The immediate need is they don’t want to go to jail. That’s everybody’s first thought, they don’t want to go to jail. Then the second thought is, how is this going to affect me? How long is this going to take? How much is it going to cost? It seems like that the last thing on a lot of people’s minds is how do I get cured from my habit? It’s unfortunate, but I think that people should put their own health first. If they do it that way, everything else falls into place.
People Often Have Their Priorities Mixed Up When they Want to Get Out of Their Drug Case But Won’t Stop Doing Drugs
If somebody comes to me and says, I need help, I’d like to get off of this habit, by having that recognition, we can help them get into the programs, use the programs to help get rid of the court case. By using the programs to help get rid of the court case, now it helps you keep your job, and everything falls into place that way. It’s people taking responsibility and recognizing who they are, where they are and where they want to go that makes my life as an attorney a lot easier.
It’s when the person just doesn’t have their head screwed on right as to what their priorities are that makes it tough, because I see people want to get out of their drug case but they don’t want to stop doing drugs. It’s not a good combination.
By Eric Sachs