When measuring drug crimes against one another, prescription medications seem less sordid and almost acceptable in comparison. However, when it comes to criminal law, prescription drug use may not be a safer alternative. Keep reading for more information.
What Is a Prescription Drug?
According to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, a prescription drug is defined by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as a classification of drug approved for medical use. These drugs are legal and utilized in medical treatments and procedures from pain medication to steroids for physical therapy purposes.
Prescription drugs are different from over the counter (OTC) drugs because they require a written prescription order from a licensed Medical Doctor. Additionally, some prescription drugs are scheduled drugs meaning they are considered controlled substances safe for limited use in medical treatment.
Abuse, Dependance, and a Doctor’s Note
Medical doctors are required to prescribe minimal amounts of medication according to the patient’s condition. The ideal scenario is that should the patient need more treatment the doctor may increase the dose as needed.
However, some prescriptions may become addictive, or the patient may become entirely dependent. The key difference between dependance and addiction is: dependance describes a circumstance where the patient relies on the continued use of a drug to go through the day comfortably while addiction is the willful exploitation of a drug’s side effects on a semi regular to frequent basis.
While addiction may not be the goal of most drug makers and physicians prescribing medications, the addictive nature of a medication may be withheld or ignored completely to protect pharmaceutical sales.
One example of this is the opioid epidemic. For decades, opioids were celebrated as a less addictive and more fast-acting alternative to morphine. However, as more and more people became dependent and eventually addicted to opioid drugs, there was an illicit market. Suddenly, opioids were being sold along harder “street drugs” and the government began to take notice.
The decades long crisis is often referred to as the opioid epidemic. Millions were affected and hundreds of thousands died as a result. Now, prescription drug addiction is recognized by law enforcement as a danger and a threat to public safety.
In this case, the pharmaceutical company responsible for producing most opioids deliberately misdirected the public and did not inform patients of the addictive nature of the drug. The federal government held them responsible, and many victims raised civil complaints.
Better/Worse: Criminal Charges
Because prescription drug abuse is so dangerous, the charges for driving under the influence of prescription medication may be worse than intoxication by any other means. Drugs like opioids and other pain killers are scheduled at a higher penalty level then drugs like marijuana. As such, prescription drug use may result in harsher criminal penalties than other substances.
Defending Your Rights, Fighting for Your Best Interests
Sane Phelps Law is an experienced law firm and we have helped countless clients get the legal help and support they need during a difficult time. Our attorney is well-versed in Texas and federal law as they apply to prescription drug cases. When you entrust your case to us, you can rest assured that we will protect your best interests.
Contact Shane Phelps Law today for more information.