Police Chief Steers Addicts to Treatment

Police Chief Leonard Campanello of Gloucester, Massachusetts is taking a new approach to addressing the epidemic of heroin and prescription pain pills, together having killed 47,055 people in 2014 nationwide. Through the Gloucester Angel Program, any addict who walks into the police station asking for help who surrenders their drugs and paraphernalia is not charged and instead is sent to treatment “on the spot.” Since the program began, 391 addicts have turned themselves in, 56 police departments in 17 states have started similar programs and 200 treatment centers across the country have signed on as partners.

Read more in the New York Times article, “Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail.”

American Inns of Court Magazine Features LAPs

The American Inns of Court has dedicated the January/February 2016 issue of its magazine, The Bencher, to Lawyer Assistance Programs. It includes an opening message about LAPs from the President of the American Inns of Court, Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart, as well as the following features:

  • Ending the Epidemic of Lawyers’ Depression and Substance Abuse Disorders, by C. Stuart Mauney, Esq.
  • Alcohol-Free Socializing as a Solution? By David C. Tryon, Esq.
  • Louisiana’s Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, by J.E. “Buddy” Stockwell, Esq.
  • New Jersey Lawyers’ Assistance Program: A Case Study in Creative and Compassionate Caring, by Hon. Helen E. Hoens (Ret.), William J. Kane, Esq., and Nancy Stek, MS, LCADC
  • Ethics: Lawyer Assistance Programs and Attorney Discipline Agencies, by John P. Ratnaswamy, Esq.

Access the full issue of the January/February 2016 issue of The Bencher here.

New Series on Recovery Premieres Tonight

Tune in tonight for the first episode of a new series focusing on the recovery side of addiction called Recovery Road. Based on the novel of the same name, Recovery Road follows the story of a teenager named Maddie who is sent to a sober living facility as a result of her addiction to alcohol and drugs.

As explained here by Patrick Krill of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, who acted as a consultant to the show, Recovery Road is an important and long overdue response to the “enormous disparity” between addiction and recovery in the media.

Recovery Road premieres Monday, January 25, at 9:00pm ET on Freeform, the new name for ABC Family.


The Effects of Impairment on Competence

A recent California Lawyer article, “Key to Competence: Be Mindful of Your Mind,” discusses how cognitive impairment and substance abuse can lead to incompetent representation. The impact reaches colleagues, clients and the profession as a whole, and the consequences can be as severe as disbarment. In California, lawyers are required to take at least one hour of a special MCLE credit in “Competence Issues (Addressing Substance Abuse and Physical/Mental Impairment)” and this article accompanies a test California lawyers can submit to fulfill that obligation.

Two Note-Worthy Articles in The Bar Examiner

The December issue of The Bar Examiner, a publication of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, features two note-worthy articles.

First, the cover story titled, “Helping Law Students Get the Help They Need: An Analysis of Data Regarding Law Students’ Reluctance to Seek Help and Policy Recommendations for a Variety of Stakeholders,” shares results from the Survey of Law Student Well-Being, the first survey to assess alcohol and drug use among law students since 1991. Authors David B. Jaffe (former CoLAP Commission member and current CoLAP Advisory Committee member), Jerome M. Organ and Katherine M. Bender administered the survey with grants from the ABA Enterprise Fund and the Dave Nee Foundation and sponsorship in-part from CoLAP.

The issue also features the article, “Lawyer Assistance Programs: Advocating for a Systems Approach to Health and Wellness for Law Students and Legal Professionals,” by CoLAP Commission member, Linda Albert. The article recommends that we endorse health and well-being at the same level of importance as professional responsibility, and offers a detailed background of LAPs and their many services. It also discusses the collaborative research project between CoLAP and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation on the prevalence of substance abuse and mental illness among attorneys; publication of results is slated for the January/February 2016 issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Drug Testing for Tennessee Bar Applicants

Tennessee bar applicants may have to pass one more test before being admitted – a drug test. On December 21, 2015, the Supreme Court of Tennessee amended its bar admission rules to explicitly authorize the Board of Law Examiners to request that an applicant submit to a drug test. Applicants who refuse may be denied a law license. Specifically, effective January 1, 2016:

The Board or any individual member thereof, as part of the character investigation of an applicant, may request an applicant to submit to a drug test. Failure or refusal to submit to the drug test shall be sufficient cause for the Board to refuse such applicant a license. Art. III, sec. 3.07(b).

Access the full Order, In re Amendment of Rules 6, 7, and 8 (RPC 5.5), Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court, No. ADMIN2015-00443 (filed Dec. 21, 2015), here.

The Wisconsin Bar Talks Happiness

In the December issue of Wisconsin Lawyer from the State Bar of Wisconsin, the article “5 Strategies to Make Your Work More Meaningful” offers just that, but also elaborates on why meaningful work is important to begin with. It explains that adults with goals such as personal growth, close relationships, community involvement or physical health report higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of anxiety and depression than those with aspirations such as money, fame or image.

Also from the State Bar of Wisconsin this month is an Inside Track article (and video) titled, “Lawyers and Happiness: It Lands On You.” In it, Dr. Gregory Van Rybroek, a psychologist, attorney and member of the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) Committee, explains that despite the complexities of achieving happiness, there are ways we can improve our outlook on life. The article also features a sidebar dedicated to additional readings about what makes lawyers happy.