William Long Whitesell, L.L.C.

Why are opiates a problem in today's society?

When you hear about drug trafficking, one of the major questions you may have is how so many drugs make it to the streets. Sure, people get prescriptions filled all the time, but aren't they controlled and limited?

In the past, they weren't always limited or monitored carefully. In fact, in today's society, medications are monitored much more carefully than they were in the past. This is made obvious by the opioid crisis, which is a direct result of over-prescribing.

The widespread prescribing of opioids, which include drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, means that these medications are much more likely to be available for purchase on the streets (and black market). These drugs are well known for causing dependency and addiction, which lead people to continue taking them and participating in drug-seeking behaviors like doctor-shopping .

It's believed that around 20 percent of all opiates are diverted from legitimate use into illicit use. However, this number could be extremely low. In a recent study performed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 36 percent of a trial's opiate product went missing. Many believe that this percentage is the minimum at which legitimate drugs end up being diverted and used for illegitimate purposes.

Managing drug use isn't always easy. Many patients require painkillers to control chronic pain, pain following surgery or pain from diseases. Today, doctors may require patients to sign contracts to protect them from liability. Patient drug testing is also being used to reduce the risk of drug abuse from prescription medications.

Patients may face drug charges if they're caught purchasing drugs or selling them. If you're caught, remember that a defensive position can help you work to avoid serious penalties.

Source: Divert-x.com, "Reducing Drug Trafficking through Pill Monitoring," accessed Feb. 09, 2018

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