Utah Mother Arrested Days After Seeking Help for Drug Addiction

A young Utah mother was arrested five days after reaching out to friends and family online along with a treatment center, seeking help for her drug addiction.

Arrested for drugs

Seeking Help for Drug Addiction

Photo Courtesy of Facebook

On April 9th, 2017 Provo police arrested 24 year old Arali Cabezas and an older male after they were found in a stolen car with several lifted identification documents as well as methamphetamine and several needles. Cabezas was booked into Utah County Jail on theft charges as well as two second degree felonies for receiving a stolen vehicle and possession of a schedule I controlled substance. Her bail is set at $12,500 and 11 days later she has yet to be released on bond.

Good person, bad choices

According to her Facebook page, Cabezas is a single parent and the mother of a little boy – 15 month old Kaison. Upon news of her arrest, friends and family commented shock and sadness, one of which said “part of recovery is having support, and she doesn’t have much of that. She really is an amazing girl inside and out and she is so dang smart, she just made some really dumb choices.” Another individual commented stating “when you are raised by two addicts and exposed to a life of drug use and abuse, and even taught how to use drugs by your parents, you don’t have much chance of doing any better in life.”

Seeking help for a drug addiction

Photo by: Max Baars

Photo by: Max Baars

According to her own Facebook page five days before her arrest, Cabezas was trying to do better. She swallowed her price and reached out for help with her drug addiction. She is quoted as saying “So I have a [question]. Do any of my friends have any information about The House of Hope? I will be looking it up and what not [too]. If you can let me know as soon as possible.” After receiving a handful of helpful comments, Cabezas stated that same day that she “called and left a message with admissions.” Five days later however she was arrested.

Drug treatment center

The House of Hope is drug treatment center located in Salt Lake City and Provo that focuses its care on women who may or may not be pregnant as well as mothers who have young children. As with other wonderful treatment centers for drug addiction, House of Hope is a non profit organization and offers many services such as outpatient care residential and day treatment. Had Cabezas found herself in the care of the House of Hope, it is likely she would have received substantial treatment for her drug addiction. There is no added information on whether or not Cabezas got cold feet and decided not to get help for her drug addiction or if she somehow slipped between the cracks, perhaps not receiving a call back from the  for help with her drug addiction. Either way, she was arrested five days later and now she sits in jail awaiting a court date. Cabezas faces a possibility of up to 15 years in prison for her drug and theft crimes; double that amount if she is convicted of both felonies and ordered to serve them consecutively, one right after the other.

Treatment for substance abuse

Photo by: Alan Cleaver

Photo by: Alan Cleaver

Utah residents who are struggling with drug addiction are encouraged to seek help just as Cabezas but be relentless and not give up. There are multiple programs throughout Utah aimed at helping residents recover from substance and alcohol abuse, and many of these programs are funded through the state. Those individuals who need help with addiction, but who are also facing criminal charges should contact a defense attorney who can help them work on defending or reducing charges while also ensuring that treatment is made available, whether voluntarily or mandatory. For more information, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Mental Health Issues and Criminal Behavior

As the link between mental health issues and criminal behavior is being researched, disorders such as depression and schizophrenia that were previously taboo to speak about are finally being seen and discussed as actual medical conditions needing attention and treatment.

An empty threat

Photo by: Thomanication

Photo by: Thomanication

On Monday, 35 year old Eagle Mountain resident Christopher Dewitt Craig drove to his 9 year old daughter’s elementary school and demanded the school be evacuated; afterwards telling police there were explosives in his vehicle. Following a delivery of an unknown message to police, Craig was arrested without incident and was booked on charges including: making terrorist threats; disrupting operations of a school; and disorderly conduct. His arrest and bail of $25,000 stands even though authorities didn’t discover a single trace of explosives or any weapons on Craig’s person, in his vehicle, or even at his home.

Downward spiral

Contrary to a public outcry of a suspect making a terrorist threat on an elementary school, the community along with those who know Craig personally are calling the incident sad and tragic; a life that spiraled out of control due to mental health issues. Before plunging into criminal and irrational behavior, Craig had a promising career in basketball; both as a player and then as a coach. He was a star basketball player in the 90’s during his high school years at Horizon High School in Phoenix Arizona, later playing for the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). His path then changed from player to coach after he landed a job as the very young head coach for Utah State University Eastern. After two other coaching positions with the last being at Midland College in Texas, Craig left while suffering with mental health issues including schizophrenia. His life quickly went downhill as he struggled with drugs and extremist thinking. He is now facing the possibility of 15 years or more in prison.

Mental health issues and criminal behavior

Mental Health Issues

Photo by: Alachua County

Having an illness such as schizophrenia does not make a person a violent or dangerous criminal. More often than not, those suffering from untreated mental health issues will do nothing more than struggle privately and isolate themselves, withdrawing from family and friends. Very few sufferers get the medical help they need as they do not speak openly about their struggles. Some choose to end their misery with suicide; other may attempt to numb the pain with substance abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “Individuals with overt, mild, or even subclinical mental disorders may abuse drugs as a form of self-medication.” NIH also stated that “Patients with schizophrenia have higher rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse than the general population.” Many mental health issues make it difficult to make healthy, everyday choices. Substance abuse can further hinder a person’s ability to think clearly and act accordingly. Mix the two together along with decreased support of loved ones and you have a recipe for disaster that can lead to criminal behavior.

SAMHSA

With mental health issues and/or substance abuse, early detection and treatment is key for preventing lives from being turned upside down such as what has happened with Christopher Craig. Fortunately, there are resources available to help those who are struggling with mental illness or drugs; one of those is SAMHSA. According to their website, “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.” They state: “SAMHSA Strategic Initiatives help provide treatment and services for people with mental and substance use disorders, support the families of people with mental and substance use disorders, build strong and supportive communities, prevent costly behavioral health problems, and promote better health for all Americans.” For anyone who is or who knows someone who is struggling mentally or with substance abuse, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. For more information contact the Department of Health in your area. If legal help is needed for criminal charges, contact an experienced defense attorney.