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Did your medical need cause an opioid addiction and drug charges?

Maybe you had surgery or were in an accident that left you in a lot of pain. When receiving your medical care, your doctor prescribed an opioid that worked wonders and helped you get back on your feet. Well, that feeling left you wanting more, but your medical provider started refusing your requests for refills. This caused you to look elsewhere for the medicine you felt you needed to get through the day and this search eventually landed you in jail on drug charges.

According to a report released by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) in 2017, Alabama ranks highest in the country for the number of opioid prescriptions. There are more prescriptions written in Alabama than there are people in the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2015 alone physicians in the state wrote nearly six million prescriptions for these types of pain medications.

State versus national opioid use

In looking at just individuals covered by BCBS, in Alabama, 26 percent of insured members filled opioid prescriptions in the year 2015. That is 5 percent higher than BCBS national opioid prescription average. Roughly 7 percent of members were on long-term opioid regimens, compared to about 4 percent on the national level. Nationally, only about eight per every 1000 BCBS members received opioid use disorder diagnoses. In Alabama, that number doubled.

Who is more likely to end up on opioids?

The BCBS study showed that women aged 45 and older use these drugs more often than their male counterparts do. Whereas, men younger than the age of 45 are more likely to use opioids compared to their female counterparts. However, in all age groups, women tend to fill more opioid prescriptions than men do. More insurance providers are working on helping their members receive help with overuse and addiction, but it is slow going. Pulling back on prescriptions has led to numerous people looking for other ways to obtain the drugs.

Facing drug charges

If you find yourself facing drug charges for possession of opioids obtained in a questionable manner, the consequences tied to a conviction can be steep. Judges can be understanding of the opioid epidemic and addiction problem, and some individuals may be able to avoid incarceration by having their cases moved to a drug diversion program. Every legal decision for a case involving drug is unique and needs to be made on a case-by-case basis to meet the needs of the accused.

If you find yourself facing drug charges for opioid use and possession, you have options. With advice and assistance, you can make informed decisions about your case and fight for the best possible outcome.

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