Medical science does a pretty good job of alleviating pain suffered from acute injury or short-term medical procedures. Treating long-term chronic pain is not so easy, however. Doctors want to help patients whose lives are disrupted by back problems or arthritis or other chronic conditions. However, prescription pain medications are addictive and easily abused. The illegal sale of these pharmaceuticals has become a major public health problem in Utah.
Fatal overdoses of prescription pain killers outnumber traffic fatalities and constitute a greater threat than drugs like cocaine or heroin in this state. According to the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, there are 23 opioid medication deaths each month. And unlike heroin addiction, the abuse of opioid medications affects all income and age groups from kids in high school to senior citizens. Some common examples of abused opioid drugs include:
Case in point
The Drug Enforcement Agency arrested Salt Lake City Justice Court Judge Virginia Bauskett Ward after she received a package of oxycodone in the mail. The judge may be facing severe penalties. Utah has instituted strict laws in an attempt to stem the trafficking of popular prescription drugs. Unauthorized possession of oxycodone, which is considered a controlled substance, is a serious crime. Alleged charges may be compounded if it turns out that the judge intended to distribute the drugs.
It is sometimes difficult to find a balance between stopping the abuse of pain meds and protecting the rights of patients who genuinely require these pharmaceutical products. If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer. Being convicted of drug possession — even for a minor amount — can have long-term bad consequences.