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How a pain pill addiction can lead to jail

Addiction is an illness -- and just like you catch a cold by being around someone who's sick -- you can also catch an addiction by spending time around people who suffer from the same. Sooner or later, they'll ask you to pop a pill and, if you do it too many times, you could become addicted to the drug. Alternatively, you might catch this illness by having too much trust in your doctor who prescribes a highly addictive pain pill. Even after your painful condition goes away, the addiction to pain pills could remain.

Being addicted to a controlled substance like opiate-based pain pills is not a crime, but being in unlawful possession of these substances is clearly against the law. Because those addicted to controlled substances tend to obtain them, trade them and possess them in unlawful ways, people with pain pill addictions could find themselves facing serious criminal charges in court.

The slippery slope of pain medication addiction

In spite of the unlawful nature of unprescribed pain pills, a strong addition that grows out of lawfully prescribed use can inspire someone to break the law in a heartbeat to satisfy his or her craving. Even worse, because opiate-based pain medications are devastatingly addictive, the unlawful use of these drugs has spread like wildfire across the nation. The unprescribed use of pain pills is now very common in Tennessee.

It's not always clear how individuals obtain these drugs without a prescription -- but there are endless ways to get them. For example, people might receive them from friends, buy them on the street, buy them at a pill mill, get them by tricking a doctor, get them from a family member or have them left over from a previous prescription. No matter how someone obtains pain pills, however, if the pain pills are not associated with a doctor's prescription for the specific person who possesses them, the possession is illegal.

How do pharmaceutical drug charges happen?

Pharmaceutical drug charges relating to unlawful prescription drug possession can happen in a wide array of contexts. You might be driving your vehicle, get pulled over by police and a vehicle search produces a bottle of unprescribed pills. Alternatively, police could conduct a sting operation on someone who is engaged in buying and reselling prescription drugs. It's not uncommon for police to pose as would-be buyers in order to build a case against you.

If you have been accused of prescription drug crimes, you may have the ability to defend yourself in court against the charges. Ultimately, even if a conviction is likely, you will likely benefit from a well-organized criminal defense. You may even be able to obtain a lesser punishment in addition to benefiting from enrollment into a state-sponsored drug rehabilitation program.

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Jack P. Sherman, Attorney at Law
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