When you are in pain, you want relief — period. For many, that means turning to opioids, and in some cases, patients ask for additional prescriptions down the road. And as we all know, sometimes people get addicted, and the outcomes are horrible. Prescribing doctors have been blamed for the opioid crisis for years now, but the U. S. Supreme Court recently found that it is time to reconsider where that blame is placed.
The Very Real Drug Crisis
The number of deaths related to drug overdoses has been rising steadily for decades, with well over 80,000 fatalities related to both prescription and illicit opioids in 2021, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Roughly eight in ten heroin users say they previously used prescription opioids, indicating that the first step to addiction often occurs with a prescription. The link between prescriptions and illegal drug use is palpable; heroin, which is similar chemically to prescription opioids, is simply cheaper and easier to obtain than prescriptions are in many cases. Undoubtedly, the misuse of opioid prescriptions—taking them in ways other than prescribed, taking the medications that were prescribed to someone else, or taking medications just to get high rather than for the intended purpose—is definitely one factor that leads to the use of heroin or other illicit drugs.
Dr. Shakeel Kahn
Dr. Shakeel Kahn was convicted of prescribing opioids unlawfully in 2019 and was found guilty of unlawful distribution of prescription medications and additional charges and serving his sentence of 25 years in prison when a federal appeals court overturned that ruling. The Supreme Court had recently ruled that improper instructions had been given to jurors in the case, upping expectations for prosecutors in similar cases across the U.S.A.
Controlled Substance Prescriptions in California
Here in California, when prescriptions for controlled substances are written for non-legitimate purposes, violators are subject to imprisonment for up to a year, along with a $20,000 fine. With the reversal in the federal appeals court in Kahn’s case, it could make proving a case against a physician a little more difficult.
Get the Defense You Deserve
Any physician who has prescribed controlled substances knows that patients frequently require or demand these medications. Sometimes, it results in drug dependencies. Is the prescribing doctor to blame? Should a doctor’s livelihood be at risk after every controlled substance prescription? The Supreme Court now provides doctors a little more leeway when addressing that question. At Boertje & Associates, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys are prepared to put together a robust defense for you. Schedule a confidential consultation in our San Diego office today.