Every day doctors and other health care providers prescribe a variety of prescription drugs and painkillers to their patients. Most of these are prescribed with the goal that they only be taken for a short time. After that, the patient should discontinue using them because these drugs are often highly addictive.
Some doctors give in more easily to renewing a prescription, and some patients have found ways of getting their prescriptions refilled by other doctors, or finding a way to continue to access either their formerly prescribed drug or a similar drug on the street in order to feed that addiction.
Unfortunately, these addictive instincts often lead to criminal drug charges that involve the use, possession, or the intent to distribute illegal substances. If convicted, those charged face fines, community service obligations and even jail time.
The impact of drug charges
Drug charges impact those arrested and convicted and their families. Although the United States hosts just 5% of the world's population, a quarter of those in jail are Americans. This is largely due to drug charges. When a person goes to jail or is fined for prescription drug use fueled by addiction - or other drug use that was developed from prescription drug addiction - they are forced to leave their family and jobs. Even after being released from jail, getting a job may be more difficult with a criminal record. This places additional economic struggles and emotional difficulties on loved ones.
Criminal charges do more harm than good
When a person is addicted to prescription medications or other drugs, they are already facing a major challenge. Many would argue that the grip of addiction is its own prison. Simply putting those who commit drug crimes in jail does not rehabilitate them, and unnecessarily contributes to overcrowding of jails. Being in jail can also wear on a person's self esteem, and make it more difficult to successfully complete rehab later. This can have long term effects on the overall public health.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime due to prescription drug abuse, contact a lawyer immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help push for treatment and rehab instead of jail time, and fight to have the charges reduced or dropped.