ALEXANDRIA, Virginia. According to NPR, 52,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses, with 33,000 of those overdoses involving opioid use. According to the New York Times, public health officials consider the opioid crisis the worst in American history. While individuals peddling illegal prescription drugs can face criminal charges, until recently, pharmaceutical manufacturers had not faced criminal charges for their role in the epidemic.
Yet, it has been noted recently that criminalizing users isn’t going to solve the problem. Instead, the government has moved toward enforcing new laws that prevent distribution of the drugs without prescriptions while making it tougher for doctors to over prescribe these potentially deadly drugs. In many communities, individuals begin taking these drugs for legitimate pain, but the drugs are so addictive that they begin to use the drugs regularly. Some individuals move to using heroin because it can be cheaper and easier to get heroin on the street than prescription painkillers.
According to NPR, several wholesalers have recently been asked to pay fines for failing to report suspicious orders. As the epidemic has grown, lawmakers have been trying to find ways to curb doctors from over-prescribing and to prevent the drugs from entering communities. One way the drugs enter communities is through prescription fraud or over prescribing on the part of doctors. The distributors were accused of not reporting pharmacies that were selling large quantities of opioids. Along with pharmaceutical companies, doctors can face charges for over-prescribing addictive prescription drugs.
In Virginia, lawmakers have proposed laws that would limit the amount of prescription opioids doctors can prescribe, provide clearer guidelines on the prescription of opioids, and make opioid overdose reversal drugs easier to acquire. According to NBC 29, if the laws are passed, doctors would be limited to providing patients with seven day supplies of painkillers, with exceptions made for cancer patients. The new laws would allow for electronic tracking of prescriptions, to cut down on prescription fraud. The hope is that the new laws will prevent people from becoming addicted to opioids, and help addicted individuals recover.
Individuals who are suffering from drug addiction issues need recovery options, not jail. Unfortunately, individuals who are facing criminal drug possession charges or those who are found guilty of prescription drug abuse, may face jail instead of getting access to the recovery programs they need. If you are facing drug possession charges or are facing charges for prescription drug crimes, the criminal defense lawyer at Jonathan Y. Short, P.C. in Alexandria may be able to assist you. Our firm works closely with individuals facing drug charges, helping them to understand the full range of options available to them under the law.
Virginia law is particularly punitive when it comes to drug possession charges. This means that individuals may face long jail sentences and other serious penalties for drug possession or other drug crimes. Jonathan Y. Short, P.C. is a criminal defense lawyer who will evaluate your case and explore all possible avenues.