Opiates are powerfully addictive drugs that doctors prescribe to ease pain after surgery or pain related to chronic conditions. However, opiates can lead to illicit drug use, arrest, and even death. In fact, Massachusetts passed new opiate laws in March 2016 that will place limitation on what doctors can prescribe. These laws also will provide addicted individuals more options for help.
The Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention
This new act will:
- Limit doctors to prescribing only seven days’ worth of opioid based pain medication to children and new patients
- Require substance abuse evaluations for individuals admitted to the emergency room for opiate overdoses
- Provide additional training resources to doctors who have the ability to prescribe opiates
- Require public schools to screen children to determine family substance abuse, which parents can opt out of
- Require a log of all opioid prescriptions in a statewide prescription tracking program. Doctors and pharmacists can check this to prevent patients from getting multiple prescriptions from different doctors and pharmacies
- Allow patients to voluntarily opt out of an opioid prescription or receive a “partial fill” of opiates needed for chronic pain
Penalties for Opiate Possession
Individuals addicted to opiates will often exceed their own prescriptions and seek alternative ways to obtain the medication. Additionally, the new laws limiting prescriptions may increase this behavior, since the new law makes it difficult to legally obtain enough opiates to fuel an addiction. Opioid medications are a Schedule II controlled substance. Consequently, if you possess opioid medications without a prescription, criminal charges can be filed. For example, a first offense could get you up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000, or both.
Defend Your Rights & Get Help When You Need It
In the event that you face an illegal possession of narcotics charge, contact a drug crimes lawyer who will advocate for your rights and who can connect you to recovery resources. Contact the Law Offices of Tom Kokonowski, Esq. today to learn more about your options in the face of a narcotic drug charge. Call (413) 585-9200 or (413) 549-0022.