Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

Can addiction play a role in a prescription drug crime defense?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Drug Charges

Maybe you hurt your back at work, and your doctor generously prescribed opioids for your long-term pain. Unfortunately, you realized you were addicted to the drug when it was time to stop taking your medication.

Since drug addiction is extremely hard to overcome, many otherwise responsible citizens may break the law to obtain more medicine. Although addiction is not an accepted defense in most cases, it could play a role in mitigating your circumstances.

Types of prescription drug offenses

Most people do not typically engage in large-scale operations like illegally importing prescription drugs, for example. Most only want more medication to address their withdrawal symptoms. Examples of the most common prescription offenses are:

  • Illegal possession of prescription drugs
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Stealing prescription pads
  • Altering prescriptions
  • Stealing filled prescriptions
  • Lying about an injury or condition to obtain drugs

Doctor shopping, which involves going to multiple emergency rooms or doctor offices to get new prescriptions, is also a crime.

Drug court as an alternative to other penalties

Maryland offers several “problem-solving” courts, including drug courts. The purpose of drug court is to help drug offenders overcome their addictions and become responsible members of society.

Those who qualify can often avoid incarceration and other harsh consequences by participating in drug court programs. However, you must complete substance abuse treatment, or you could end up in the same situation you are in now.

Other requirements include:

  • Undergoing regular drug tests
  • Attending hearings before a judge
  • Following a strict curfew

If drug court is not an option, perhaps one of the other problem-solving courts (mental health court, etc.) can help. Experienced legal guidance may improve your chances of acceptance or suggest other defenses to explore.