The opioid epidemic has spread across America and has a significant impact on people’s lives. Opioids are classified between Schedule I and Schedule V through the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are highly likely to be abused and are not approved for medical purposes in the United States. This includes drugs like heroin. Other opioids, like Oxycontin or Fentanyl, are lower on the schedule. Any drug on the Controlled Substances Act’s list is capable of being abused.
In Louisiana, there were 79.4 opioid prescriptions written per 100 people in the state, showing just how pervasive these drugs are in the population. Unfortunately, these drugs, often Schedule II drugs, are dangerous and addictive.
How addictive are opioids?
Opioids are highly addictive. This is because they directly activate powerful reward centers within the brain, releasing feel-good chemicals. As endorphins are released, they cover up feelings of pain and instead provide temporary feelings of well-being and euphoria.
Using opioids, even in the short term, may lead to addiction or overdose. Addiction occurs when a person has irresistible cravings and continues using the drug compulsively. The cravings may be severe, and some may overuse the drugs to get high. Unfortunately, opioids depress the respiratory system, so some people who overdose pass away from being unable to breathe correctly. NARCAN, an opioid antagonist, is a reversal drug that may save lives and is now available throughout the state.
When does opioid abuse lead to criminal charges?
It is illegal to sell, buy, transport and possess opioids without a prescription. If you are caught with them, there is a potential that you could face charges.
If you have a prescription, then you should not face penalties, but if you give away your drugs, sell them to someone or doctor shop to gain multiple doses, then you could end up being penalized for breaking the law.
Opioid abuse and misuse has hurt many communities, so it’s important to address this issue. If you are addicted to opioids, there are treatment facilities that offer support. If you’re charged with a crime, remember that your attorney can take steps to help protect you and potentially get you the treatment you may need.