Treatment of DC Prescription Drug Charges

It is important to know how law enforcement and the courts approach the treatment of DC prescription drug charges. An experienced lawyer will be well equipped to discuss the details as they pertain to each individual case. That said, there are a few overarching facts which apply to every case when it comes to the treatment of DC prescription drug charges.

Law Enforcement Approach

Prescription drug charges in recent years have increased to the level of being a high priority for DC law enforcement and DC prosecutors. Many people are aware of the current prescription drug epidemic in Washington, DC and all over the country. Addiction levels for prescription painkillers or other kinds of prescription drugs is much more widespread compared to addiction for illegal substances such as cocaine or PCP.

Reasons Behind Increased Misuse

This is because of the wide availability of many kinds of prescription drugs because of over-prescribing by doctors. Initially, people may legally obtain the substances and become addicted to them. When they can no longer obtain a prescription, they are forced to move to other illegal substances that are both less expensive and more addictive than the original prescription drug.

Prosecution Approach

Because of the nationwide epidemic of prescription drug addictions, the treatment of DC prescription drug charges by prosecutors is much more aggressive in general. That said, there is an important distinction that the prosecution sometimes makes in these cases. Namely, the difference in prosecuting those alleged to be distributing or intending to distribute and those suffering from a personal addiction.

Growing Leniency for Addiction

People suffering from addiction to prescription drugs who are being charged with illegal possession for their own personal use may be eligible for more lenient treatment due to increasing awareness of the medical issues surrounding addiction and an increased understanding of addiction as a disease that needs treatment.

This is why it is important for defense attorneys to understand these kinds of addiction issues and advocate for their clients who may be better served through treatment and counseling than by harsh prosecutions, jail time, and criminalization of what may be underlying medical issues in need of medical attention.

Approach of the Courts

When it comes to the courts, treatment of DC prescription drug charges has become more lenient over the years, thanks to the work of addiction activists and advocates. Because of their work, prescription drug addiction and addictions, in general, are better understood by the courts now than they were five or ten years ago. Addiction, including prescription drug addiction, is more likely to be seen as a medical issue in need of treatment as opposed to a criminal issue in need of severe prosecution and prison time.

The defense attorneys who represent people facing prescription drug prosecutions should advocate before the courts for leniency in a person’s criminal case. They should advocate for treatment for the drug addiction as an option that that can allow a person to receive the treatment they need without facing long term criminal consequences for what is a medical issue.

On the other hand, people charged and accused of distribution or unlawful possession with the intent to distribute prescription drugs are treated more harshly by courts because of an increased understanding and belief that illegal distribution of prescription drugs leads to a much more widespread addiction to each kind of substance.

How a Defense Attorney Can Increase the Chance of Leniency

It is also the case in some situations that distribution or intent to distribute certain kinds of prescription drugs is also a consequence of an individual person’s addiction. Some people who suffer from severe addictions to prescription drugs are involved in distribution as a way to finance their own addiction to prescription drugs.

In those situations, the intent to distribute or the distribution of prescription drugs is a symptom of the underlying addiction. Defense attorneys can advocate for more leniency or a better understanding of people in this situation who are forced into a perilous circumstance because of their addiction. They may still be able to benefit from treatment or drug court diversion options as opposed to harsh criminal sanctions.