Prescription drugs are legal, and in most cases, a patient should not fear that he or she will face criminal charges for the appropriate use of a legally prescribed drug. However, today’s opioid crisis has led to a significant uptick in criminal charges related to a specific class of prescription drugs that falls under the opioid designation.
Prescription painkillers are a risk area for a wide variety of patients who have developed addictions. Patients with addictions to prescription pain relief medicines will often go to great lengths to obtain the drug, and in so doing, may resort to illegal tactics, putting themselves at risk for criminal charges.
Risk of criminal charges with prescription painkillers
Many of those who are addicted to prescription painkillers began taking the medicine legitimately with a doctor’s prescription to help alleviate a medical concern. However, because these opioid painkillers are so addictive, patients who develop a dependence on the drug often find themselves in situations in which they do not know how to satisfy their addiction through legitimate means.
Rather than seeking treatment, many of these patients find other ways to obtain the drug, such as stealing someone else’s prescription and taking the drug to get high. If police find someone in possession of a prescription painkiller illegitimately, they can bring criminal charges. Charges for opioid prescription drug possession can have harsher penalties, such as higher minimum fines, than those for other drugs.
Defense strategies for prescription drug charges
Criminal charges for illegal prescription drug possession have expanded rapidly in this era of the opioid crisis. As such, many people who have never come into contact previously with the criminal justice system are now facing criminal charges and are unsure of how to defend themselves. Criminal defense attorneys specialize in this area of the law and can assist clients in helping them prepare a strategic defense.
A strategic defense is essential because a drug charge conviction can bring with it severe penalties, including jail time, and thus destroy hopes and dreams for the future. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that people who face prescription drug charges develop an appropriate and strong defense to clear their name and mitigate the potential consequences that would result from a conviction.