In Purkersdorf, a municipality in the Austrian state of Lower Austria, a 25-year-old appeared in court for drug charges. He had ordered heroin that customs officers in Vienna had intercepted. Then amphetamine. And then once more with “speed.” Before a judge at the regional court of St. Pölten, the defendant asked for a chance to do right.

Only, to the court’s dismay, the 25-year-old had appeared in that courtroom less than one year prior. He suffered from a drug addiction, according to the judge’s final verdict. Instead of prison time, the defendant received a sentence that sent him to an inpatient therapy center. “I know that I have had enough chances. But I still ask for one more. Because if I do not manage my life now, everything is over, ” he pleaded before the judge.



From the therapy or rehab center, the 25-year-old ordered 50 grams of heroin. After some amount of time passed without any sign of the package, he ordered another package: 50 grams of amphetamine (the court did distinguish between amphetamine and speed). That package, too, never arrived. So, he ordered again. This time he ordered 50 grams of speed in one form or another. As anyone but the defendant might have expected, the package of speed also failed to arrive.

Why the court waited so long to press charges is unclear. But the packages, including the first heroin parcel, were picked up by customs at the Vienna airport. All three packages were stopped by customs agents at the Vienna airport. Yet, in spite of this, the rehab patient continued to order drugs from his computer. Somehow, he may have been able to get some packages through customs, although the details were not easily locatable.

The prosecutor was not fond of the 25-year-old’s actions. “You were in withdrawal and ordered drugs,” he said. And furthermore, “there is a suspicion that you wanted to distribute the addictive drugs to customers who are right next door to your room.” The defendant did not confirm or deny the suspicions. However, he unexpectedly volunteered more information than they had asked of him.

“I have been using ketamine because I have heard [the court] cannot prove that on drug tests.”

After the judge had heard enough, he asked if there was any use in allowing the 25-year-old continue treatment. “A psychiatrist will decide whether the defendant is willingly treatable,” the judge said as he handed down a new 18-month sentence.

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