While Kentucky and other parts of the country suffer through an opioid epidemic that appears to be getting worse before it gets better, another issue with addiction is proving nearly as dangerous. Prescription drug abuse has also taken its toll on Kentucky citizens; and despite changes in laws and closer scrutiny, improvement seems to come slowly. Addiction is a very powerful disease, and Kentucky laws focus more on punishment than treatment.
Dan Carman and Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been accused of a prescription drug offense in Kentucky, you need legal representation as soon as possible. Dan Carman and Attorneys, PLLC can help. We are a firm of criminal defense attorneys located across the state, licensed to practice law in all courts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We take criminal defense cases of all types, and have the resources and experience to help. Contact us online or call 859-685-1055 if you have questions or want to set up a consultation.
How it Starts
More often than not, prescription drug addiction starts for legitimate reasons. Often times, after an injury, a doctor will prescribe pain killers. Unfortunately, the body builds a tolerance to many pain killers, and it soon requires more and more to reduce the pain, creating a dependency. In other cases a doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medication, and soon the patient feels as if they cannot cope with everyday life without it. What these situations have in common is that unless the drugs are prescribed carefully, with a measure of oversight, the patients’ chances of becoming dependent on the drugs increases exponentially. And, if the prescription is cut off and the patient no longer has access, patients may turn to more harmful drugs, including opioids.
Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs in Kentucky
While abuse may vary depending on the individual, some drugs are more commonly abused than others. New Life House, a recovery community, has tabulated the 10 most abused prescription drugs.
- OxyContin – OxyContin is an opioid generally used as a pain killer. As an opioid, it can be highly addictive, and the body may build up a significant tolerance to the drug, causing users to crave more for the euphoric feeling it causes. The drug deadens the senses and has a risk of overdose. Often, if the drug is cut off, addicted users will switch to illegal drugs, including heroin.
- Xanax –An anti-anxiety medication also used to fight panic disorders. It essentially act as a tranquilizer, and, like opioids, deadens the senses and creates a euphoric feeling in the user.
- Adderall – Adderall is a stimulant used to treat attention disorders and narcolepsy. The drug is used to help focus, but produces stimulant and euphoric effects.
- Ritalin – Ritalin is a stimulant used to treat attention disorders as well as narcolepsy. Like Adderall, it has stimulant and euphoric effects.
- Vicodin – An opioid pain killer that contains pain-relieving, euphoric and sedative effects. Like Oxycontin, users may build a tolerance and need increased dosages for the effect they desire. If cut off, abusers of Vicodin may also turn to heroin and are at increased risk of overdose.
- Percocet – Another opioid pain killer, it has essentially the same effects as Vicodin.
- Valium – Essentially a tranquilizer used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and lack of sleep. Valium also has euphoric and sedative effects.
- Ambien – A sedative/hypnotic used for individuals who have trouble sleeping. It creates a sedated and euphoric feeling in the user and is addictive. Once discontinued, users often have more trouble sleeping than before they started taking the pill.
Prescription Drug Laws in Kentucky
House Bill 1 was signed into law in 2012 by then-Governor Steve Beshear. The bill puts controls on all prescription drugs, requiring pain clinics to be licensed and adhere to state-mandated requirements for ownership and employment; it also allows the state to create further regulations for the clinics and gives police better access to the prescription drug monitoring databases. The law also puts mandates in place for doctors, making sure they fully evaluate the patient by examining complete medical histories, screening for drug use and checking electronic prescription records.
Previous laws also make it illegal to purchase prescription drugs in Kentucky without a valid prescription.
Source: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Kentucky Penalties and alternatives for Prescription Drug Abuse
Laws regarding dispensing and possession of prescription drugs in Kentucky vary on several determining factors, but can include fines, jail time and sometimes both.In some cases alternatives to jail have become available. Most notably, after an assessment and permission from the court, a defendant may be allowed to attend a treatment program as opposed to jail. In the program, the defendant must meet all the requirements from the facility and from the court or they will be removed from treatment and the original punishment will be enforced.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Kentucky, Dan Carman and Attorneys, PLLC can help. We have represented countless clients to ensure that they are treated fairly, providing an aggressive defense to achieve the best possible result. With attorneys across the state, we have the ability and the knowledge to give you the best defense possible. If you have questions or seek a consultation, contact us online or at 859-685-1055 as soon as possible.