Prescription drug abuse has climbed to epidemic proportions in the U.S. and Louisiana has among the highest rates of non-medical pain reliever use. This trend has law enforcement cracking down on prescription drugs, and people are being charged for things like casually swapping meds with friends to actions stemming from falling into pill addiction.
Prescription drug mistakes
When it comes to medications, honest people may not think about prescription medication in terms of the strict letter of the law. After all, they are legal and it's not like you're a drug dealer. However, authorities have a far different perspective about controlled substances, including prescriptions. Here are some things that could result in a criminal charge:
- Swapping medications: It's common to give a friend a pill or two to help them out. They strain their back and you hand them a muscle relaxant, ant-inflammatory or a painkiller. Although no money is exchanged, you could be charged with distribution of a controlled dangerous substance in Louisiana, and your friend could be charged with possession.
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI): Louisiana doesn't have a statute that focuses on driving while using prescription medications. State laws talk about impairment without regard for the substance used. If you are on prescription medication and have just one drink, the mix may impede your ability to drive safely. Also, narcotic prescription drugs, particularly pain killers, can make you woozy. Although you have a legal prescription, you may be charged with DWI if your driving is impaired.
Addiction can lead to legal problems
Prescription drug addiction can be the unexpected result of an injury or surgery. People tend to let their guard down about prescription medications by assuming they are safe. Addiction can affect people from all walks of life, from bank tellers to professional athletes and everyone in between. Some people - without intending to - step over the line and skirt legal regulations. Examples include:
- Lying to doctors: Patients who tell their physician they are hurt or fabricate a reason to get pain killers can be charged with fraud.
- Dual prescriptions: Prescription drug users can grow immune to the effects of their medications and may need more or higher dosages. This may motivate them to get prescriptions from more than one source.
- Online ordering: Buying drugs over the Internet from may seem like an easy, inexpensive way to get medications. However, it may not be legal.
Misusing prescription drugs can result in criminal charges against good, hardworking people. If you have been the subject of a prescription drug-related allegation, it's imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.