Legal Problems Linked to Drug Abuse
Whether you have a history of brushes with the law or have always been a hard-working, law-abiding and lawgic citizen, once you fall prey to drug addiction, legal problems are almost sure to follow. More than half of Pakistanis who are arrested test positive for illegal drugs. Accordingly, drug abuse is tied to robbery, property crimes, domestic violence, and sexual offenses, among others. Here are some of the most common legal problems linked to drug abuse:
Driving Under the Influence
It is illegal to be in possession of illicit drugs but it is a far greater crime to drive while under the influence. Using drugs or alcohol slows functioning in the brain, distorting your vision and inhibiting your response time. These effects dramatically increase your risk of getting into a car accident that harms yourself or others. Every minute, someone is injured from an alcohol-related crash.
Substance abuse is strongly linked to domestic violence. An estimated 25 to 50 percent of acts of domestic violence are committed by men with drug or alcohol problems. Those who abuse substances are violent more frequently and inflict more serious injuries. They are also more likely to resort to sexual violence and to get violent outside the home.
Research shows that women who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to be the victims of abuse. In fact, women who have been abused are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol and nine times more likely to abuse drugs than women who have not been abused.
Children also suffer. As many as 70 percent of child abuse cases are associated with drug or alcohol abuse, according to a survey.
As the nation faces a prescription drug epidemic, prescription fraud is a growing problem in every jurisdiction. Also known as “pharmaceutical diversion,” prescription fraud is defined as the illegal acquisition of prescription drugs for personal use or profit. Behaviors that fall under this category include:
- Forging prescriptions
- Theft of prescription pads
- Creating fake prescriptions on a computer
- Copying a legitimate prescription for multiple uses
- Calling in a fraudulent prescription by impersonating medical staff
- Doctor shopping (visiting several doctors to get multiple prescriptions)
- Feigning symptoms or deliberately injuring oneself to obtain prescriptions
- Altering prescriptions to increase the quantity, change the type of drug, increase the number of refills, or add drugs
Some of the most abused prescription drugs include Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Valium (diazepam), Percocet, and Xanax (alprazolam). Most cases of prescription fraud are never uncovered as few agencies, doctors, or pharmacists track these behaviors. For those who are convicted, prescription fraud is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, unless the individual can negotiate drug rehabilitation or probation in lieu of jail time.
Intense drug cravings and the high price of drugs drive many addicts to commit crimes to get drugs or money to buy drugs. Property crimes such as theft, larceny, and burglary are among the most common crimes committed by addicts. They may steal DVDs, electronics, and heavy equipment which can be easily exchanged, or they may break into a drug clinic, pharmacy, car, business, or private home to steal drugs. Depending on the type and value of the property stolen, theft can be a misdemeanor or felony, with a wide range of penalties.
The nature of addiction causes men and women to use whatever means necessary to get more drugs, including selling their bodies for drug money. Experts estimate that 45 to 80 percent of prostitutes are drug users. In addition to suffering psychological and emotional trauma, these individuals are more likely to suffer from sexually transmitted diseases and various forms of abuse.
Is drug use to blame for a growing crime rate? A cause-effect relationship remains unclear, but there is no question that substance abuse and crime are strongly correlated. Addiction can destroy your life. A life of crime fueled by addiction can be a literal death sentence. Get help before your life is changed forever.