Aaron Carter Arrested: Possible Signs of Substance Abuse
Child and teen pop star Aaron Carter was arrested Saturday evening in Cornelia, Georgia and charged with a DUI and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, pointing to a possible a substance abuse issue with the famous musician.
A concerned motorist called the Habersham County Sheriff’s Department on Saturday evening to report a dangerously erratic driver. The motorist who called 911 reported that the car Cater was driving was swerving and driving into the median of the highway outside of Cornelia, about 75 miles northeast of Atlanta. Officers responded to the report and pulled over the vehicle, which was being driven by Carter at the time. Officers performed a field sobriety test and also found marijuana and related paraphernalia inside of the vehicle, leading to his eventual arrest.
Carter claims that the marijuana and drug paraphernalia are for his “long standing anxiety” and claims to have a license for medical marijuana. Georgia does have a law which allows for the use of medical marijuana, however the specific type that was found to be in Carter’s possession is not legal in the state. This is because current law in the state only allows for each individual to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil.
Carter was eventually released from the local jail Sunday afternoon on a $4,610 bond. Further details about the arrest and subsequent charges are unavailable at this time. His arrest does however outline an issue with medical marijuana which is related to overall substance abuse.
Medical marijuana for those with substance abuse
Early implications on Carter’s arrest by no means have crystal clear signs that he does struggle with substance abuse, however the decision to drive while under the influence of the drug does point to the possibility of it. This specific case however does bring up a larger question of the consequences of the combination of medical marijuana and those who already struggle with substance abuse.
Over the past 20 years, medical marijuana has slowly been gaining adoption across the country. As of 2017, 29 states and Washington, D.C. allow for the use of marijuana when in is prescribed for medical purposes. This is due to the public, and legislators, being exposed to new evidence that marijuana does seem to have some significant benefits for those with medical conditions that range from anxiety to cancer.
What is less often discussed is the fact that marijuana, even with its medical uses, is a powerful drug with the possibility to trigger substance abuse issues in individuals. This is especially a concern for those who have either a family history of substance abuse, or who have been addicted to other drugs in the past including alcohol. In these cases marijuana may be prescribed by a physician for a legitimate medical issue but could either trigger or re-aggravate an existing substance abuse problem.
In these cases it should be taken into consideration that marijuana is a powerful and addictive drug which may not be appropriate to prescribe to those with a potential or history of substance abuse issues. It should be stated that what a person is prescribed for their medical conditions is between them and their doctor, however substance abuse in particular creates some difficult issues when it comes to medications. Not just for medical marijuana but for any mind altering or potentially addictive substance, doctors are becoming more aware of the potential for complications brought on by prescribing addictive substances to those with addictive potential or histories.
What is sometimes confusing to people is that substance abuse usually goes deeper than simply an addiction to a single substance. For example, if someone has a personal history of alcoholism which was treated at a substance abuse facility and no longer drinks, it would usually be recommended that this individual steer clear of other addictive substances in addition to alcohol. This is because addiction and substance abuse are a disease which impacts the brain in ways which make a person susceptible to abuse and mind or mood altering substance, even if their history only has the abuse of one specific substance like alcohol.
Legal difficulties with medical marijuana
The other issue that Carters arrest seems to bring up, which is mostly unrelated to substance abuse in general, is the fact that medical marijuana is regulated to differently from state to state. It was stated by officials during his arrest that the specific form of marijuana which he was found to possess was not legally allowed in the state of Georgia, even for someone with a valid prescription.
Because medical marijuana is still outlawed by the Federal Government, legalization has taken place at the state level. This means that of the 29 states which allow for the use of medical marijuana, there are 29 corresponding but often times greatly differing laws which regulate its use.As in Carter’s case, this can create problems where something which may be considered legal in a person’s home state may be illegal in another.
Still, one area of Carter’s arrest which most likely wouldn’t have been impacted by the differences in state laws was his DUI charge. Again, while state laws vary it is essentially universal that driving while under the direct influence of marijuana, medical or recreational, is illegal. This is perhaps the most concerning area of Carter’s arrest. His use of medical marijuana for anxiety aside, the fact that he decided to use the substance and then drive his vehicle are huge red flags which often times point to an individual skirting the boundaries of substance abuse. Although it must be said that prior to this weekend, Carter has not been a regular on the celebrity news circuit like many others who have shown strong signs of substance abuse.
As more states continue to pass legislation for the legalization of medical marijuana, and more recently recreational marijuana for non-medical purposes. Measures will need to be taken in order to organize the interstate legalities of marijuana’s use by the public.