We’ve all heard about “street” drug crimes — selling illegal drugs on street corners, passing off more dangerous, enhanced drugs as regular-variety narcotics, etc. — but an increasing number of people are getting caught with prescription drugs and charged with serious crimes as a result. Often, these people are not involved in the day-to-day trafficking of “street” drugs, but are caught in addictions or drug-sharing schemes and have not made the connection between their prescription drug actions and criminal offenses. For those individuals, the charges can be a complete shock. Sharing Prescription Drugs With the rising costs of healthcare and all it takes to visit the doctor and obtain a prescription, it is understandable that leftover prescription pills may be repurposed — shared with a friend or relative or used to treat another ailment. Many see no difference between that and providing an aspirin to a co-worker with a headache; however, Percocet and Vicodin are stronger than aspirin and can only be used with a valid prescription. And if you accept money for your extra amount of prescription drugs, you can rack up more criminal charges, drug crime lawyers in Raleigh say. Prescription Drug Addictions In other cases, instead of sharing their prescription drugs, people will become addicted to them. When someone in serious pain is prescribed pain pills, it can be hard to stop taking them. The absence of pain can feel like a miracle, especially if you have been in constant pain before. And when you keep taking pain medication, you often lose the ability to make good judgment calls. Sometimes, you may not even realize that you are addicted to the medication, and you may go to extreme lengths to get more when your prescription runs out. Stealing or writing false prescriptions can signal a serious addiction that needs to be treated, and it can land you in a lot of trouble with the law. Drug Crimes in Raleigh In North Carolina, the criminal justice system often works only to punish people for their crimes, not to provide rehabilitation or counseling for those addicted to drugs, including prescription medications. In prescription drug cases, the defendants often have no prior criminal record and have no idea how they ended up being charged with criminal acts. These defendants want to get help, get clean, and keep their criminal records clean. They have no desire to continue to sell or abuse drugs, but they may be hindered professionally and personally with a criminal drug charge on their permanent records. At Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, and Bryan, our drug crimes lawyers defend people charged with or under investigation for abusing, selling, or sharing prescription drugs. To get started on your defense and rehabilitation, contact one of our attorneys today.