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Avoiding prescription drug charges

The whole country has been buzzing about the current problem with drug addiction and prescription pills -- some people claim that prescription narcotics are killing more people these days than car accidents.

Predictably, the nation's law enforcement agencies don't totally agree on how to handle the problem. Some are focusing on dealers and charging them with murder whenever an addict dies, while others are focusing on the few "pill mills" that are in operation. Yet others focus their attention on addicts -- which means that anyone with a legitimate prescription for a narcotic is a potential suspect.

How can you avoid being caught up in the hysteria surrounding prescription painkillers if you rely on them every day? Follow these tips:

1. Use a pain clinic that seems legitimate.

Get your narcotic prescriptions from a doctor who specializes in pain management -- but not just any doctor. Make sure that you feel that the clinic is legitimate. It's a good sign if the doctor asks questions about your complete medical history, sends you for x-rays or other testing, has you sign a contract regarding your drug use and does regular urine or blood testing to ensure your compliance. If your doctor just writes the scripts for anything you ask -- find a new one.

2. Never carry your pills outside of their prescription bottle.

If you have to travel, you probably take your pain medication with you. Most people who suffer chronic pain often have difficulty traveling any distance without their medication and if you're going to be gone overnight you certainly need your medication. In years past, you might have just picked out a few pills and put them in a little pill box to take with you on the road. These days, however, don't take your narcotics anywhere unless they're in a bottle that's properly labelled.

3. Don't share your medication with family or friends.

It's hard to watch a family member or a close friend suffer. You may be tempted to offer a few of your extra pills to give them some relief -- but this is now looked on as a serious crime. You could be charged with drug trafficking -- or even murder if the person has a bad reaction to the drug.

If you've been arrested on drug charges, an experienced attorney can help you create a strong defense on your behalf.

Source: FindLaw, "DOJ Launches New Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit," accessed Aug. 09, 2017

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