For most North Dakota residents, illegal street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana might come to mind when the topic of drug abuse comes up. However, the attorneys at Dusek Law have also seen cases in which defendants are accused of illegally selling or using prescription medications. The problem of prescription drug abuse is more widespread than you might realize. Serious social, safety and criminal ramifications may result if you take a prescription drug for a purpose it’s not intended for.
Narcotic painkillers are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the dangers. In a survey conducted by the organization, it was revealed that approximately one in every 12 seniors in high school admitted they had recently used Vicodin for nonmedical purposes. About one in 20 said they had abused OxyContin. It’s estimated that at least 52 million Americans have experimented with prescription medications for nonmedical use at least once during their lives.
Addiction is only one of the many consequences of prescription drug abuse you may not be aware of. These drugs are often abused in part because they’re relatively easy to obtain and those who use them may think they’re not as harmful as illegal street drugs.
However, using prescription drugs for any purpose other than what a doctor has prescribed them for is unlawful, and may result in criminal drug charges. The same is true for sharing a prescription, even if you think giving a pill to a friend or family member may help them. Learn more about prescription fraud by visiting our page on drug crimes.