It is illegal to use opioids for recreational purposes. And yet it is very clear that many people do it. There’s an opioid epidemic in the United States, and use levels have never been so high before.
Granted, some people are using these drugs completely legally, as they have a prescription from a doctor and they’re using them to treat some type of pain. But many other people are using them recreationally, and a lot of these individuals are simply addicted to them. Why is this such a huge problem?
A highly addictive substance
First and foremost, the Mayo Clinic considers opioids to be highly addictive. There was a time when doctors didn’t realize just how addictive they were, so a lot of overprescribing took place. People were given too many painkillers or told to take them for too long. This led to serious addictions that people just couldn’t break on their own.
This has become such an issue because a lot of the criminal offenses stemming from opioid use are not things that people would have done on their own. Someone who is caught with a bag of pills in their car during a traffic stop, if they’re addicted to those pills, probably wishes that they hadn’t been carrying them in the car. They wish they weren’t even using them. But addiction is a powerful medical condition, so they can’t just stop.
This side of the picture is sometimes lost in the public narrative. Those who have never dealt with addiction assume that anyone who is illegally using these drugs for recreational purposes has made a choice to do that on purpose. People may not have that much empathy for someone who gets caught breaking the law, saying that it was simple enough for them to not break the law.
But that’s just not how addiction works at all. It’s not realistic. Someone who is addicted may not want to break the law the entire time that they’re doing it, but they don’t feel like there’s any way they can help themselves because these legal medications have taken control of their life.
What can you do?
If you’re facing serious legal ramifications because of the use of opioids or other prescription drugs, it’s very important for you to understand all of the legal defense options at your disposal.