Prescription Drug Crimes are Every Bit as Serious Street Drug Crimes

An overview of prescription drug crimes in North Carolina.

Prescription drug abuse is an insidious health crisis in North Carolina. What starts out as simple pain management for a bad back, chronic pain, and a host of other ailments can lead down a tough road. Otherwise, crime-free people suffering from painkiller addiction may end up doing things they never thought they’d do and find themselves in situations they never thought they’d be in.

Prescription medication painkillers, including Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet, are highly addictive. Despite their legality with a valid prescription, these drugs can be every bit as dangerous as street drugs. Prescription drug overdose claims the lives of over 1,000 people in the state every year, according to the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

Once addicted to painkillers, it is very difficult to stop. An addiction can lead to prescription drug fraud, theft, driving under the influence, and a host of other criminal activities.

State lawmakers and law enforcement officers have taken notice. People in possession of large quantities of prescription drugs may find themselves under investigation for the illegal possession or distribution of prescription drugs. And because police and state law take such crimes seriously, even innocent people or those merely trying to manage chronic pain may find themselves under scrutiny.

Getting help with criminal defense matters

North Carolinians facing prescription drug charges may have several options. One is to fight all charges. This is a good option if there is little evidence, what evidence there is was obtained in violation of constitutional rights, or if it can be shown to a jury there is reasonable doubt the defendant committed the crime.

North Carolina may also offer alternative sentencing options for criminal defendants who are found guilty or plead guilty to the charges against them. The North Carolina Drug Treatment Courts allow defendants with substance abuse issues to comply with court-ordered treatment plans in lieu of jail time. For people who want to end their addiction and put their criminal charges behind them while minimizing consequences, drug court and alternative sentencing may be an option. However, drug court is not for everyone.

There is also the option of pleading guilty to a lesser offense. In some cases, it is wiser for a defendant to accept the consequences of a lesser offense, rather than risk prosecution for a felony or other serious charge.

The best option is highly dependent on individual circumstances; there is no bright-line rule to apply when faced with prescription drug charges. At Jetton & Meredith, our lawyers are experienced criminal defense attorneys who will vigorously protect your rights. Contact our office to discuss your options and next steps.