Prescription Drug Crimes Rising in Arizona
Prescription drug crimes are on the rise, often because those abusing medications falsely believe the pills are safer then illegal street drugs. This fairly new drug crime trend is reaching alarming numbers in Arizona.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates prescription drug abuse currently affects one in five teens and the rate of abuse is continuing to rise.
Background on this Growing Trend
The temptation to take medications beyond their intended purposes has led many citizens with no criminal history to violate laws. What may seem like harmless use can quickly lead to addiction. Commonly abused medications include narcotic pain killers, sedatives, tranquilizers and stimulants.
Reasons behind misuse range from taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication to lose weight or increase one’s focus for more productive study sessions. Others believe taking these drugs is legal since they are prescribed by doctors and not purchased on the street.
Teens and adults obtain illegal medications in many different ways, and both local police officers and federal government agents are increasing enforcement efforts in an attempt to curb this growing trend. The DEA has specifically voiced a strong commitment to investigating and prosecuting medical practitioners who violate laws through prescription fraud.
Involvement of Health Care Providers
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office indicted seven health care workers and continues to investigate over a dozen more. A DEA News Release outlined some specifics of the problem in Arizona.
The release detailed how one physician led an operation providing illegal drug prescriptions. The doctor saw patients one day a week, and during that single day issued over 100 prescriptions. An affidavit against the medical practitioner alleges he violated the Arizona Medical Practice Act by writing prescriptions without obtaining a complete medical history, exam or establishing the presence of chronic pain.
Other medical professionals find themselves addicted to the medications, and take extreme measures to obtain the drugs. From taking the medications from storage and replacing with placebos to falsifying a patient’s need for additional medication only to take it for themselves, the addiction leads these professionals to take illegal and dangerous measures to obtain the narcotics.
Otherwise law abiding citizens can develop an addiction and find themselves charged with drug crimes. Associated penalties are harsh and range from monetary fines to prison time. As a result, if you or a loved one is charged with a drug crime, it is important to contact an experienced drug crime defense lawyer to ensure all legal rights are protected.