The legal ramifications of enabling a loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction

Last week, Anna Nicole Smith’s partner / lawyer, Howard K. Stern, and two doctors were charged with multiple felonies for illegally supplying the drugs that ultimately led to her accidental fatal overdose in February of 2007. Several prescription drugs were found in the room in which she died.

It was reported that all three men were charged with “prescribing, administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict,” among other felonies. The two doctors, Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich, were also charged with illegally obtaining prescriptions for opiates. (Read the CNN article on the charges)

Anna Nicole’s sad case puts a spotlight on the extreme ramifications, in this case death and legal action, that can occur when enabling a loved one’s drug and/or alcohol addiction. While supplying the drugs to an addict is an obvious enabling activity, some enabling behaviors are not as overt.

Many family members and friends of addicted men and women don’t know how to handle the effects of the addiction. They don’t know how to act. How they can help. If they can help. And they probably aren’t taking care of themselves in the meantime.

Crossroads for Women will be offering its 4-week educational series, “The Effects of Addiction on Friends and Family,” starting on April 7th at its outpatient office in Portland, Maine. The series helps those affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol problem – whether that person is in treatment, recovery or still in active addiction – by educating them on the basics of addiction, the recovery process and how to take care of themselves while also being supportive of the addicted loved one. Find out more about the series and how to sign up

In the end, the more knowledge a person has on addiction and its effects on everyone around it, the better he or she can cope.

Read more on enabling a loved one’s addiction:

Anna Nicole’s Enablers Face Felony Charges (from’s alcoholism blog)

Are you enabling your loved one’s alcohol or drug problem? (from this blog)

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