Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Kevin J. Mahoney, identifies modifications to Massachusetts Prescription Drug Laws, Aimed at Reducing Oxycontin and Vicodin Abuse
As an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer, I know all too well that drug abuse is a serious public health issue in Massachusetts; I have seen first-hand how devastating prescription drug abuse can be for my clients and their families.
Consequently, I was not surprised by the statewide wellness report released last week by the Massachusetts Health Council. According to the report, illegal drug use, particularly heroin use, continues to be a significant problem in Massachusetts. The report notes, for example, that Eastern Massachusetts had a higher rate of emergency room visits involving heroin use than any other metropolitan region in the United States; in Worcester, lifetime heroin use is twice the state and national average.
Recent changes to the state’s Controlled Substances Act were enacted with the goal of reversing this trend by reducing prescription drug abuse, particularly with respect to highly addictive pain medications, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin. These prescription painkillers are often gateway drugs to other more lethal (and cheaper) opiates, like heroin. The changes in the law require:
- Doctors must log into the Prescription Monitoring Program before writing a prescription for drugs such as OxyContin for new patients. The goal is to deter patients from going to several doctors in search of multiple prescriptions.
- Pharmacies and drug manufacturers must notify local police when reporting missing controlled substances to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- When a minor is treated for a drug or alcohol overdose at a hospital, the hospital must notify a legal guardian and provide a social worker and other resources.
- Pharmacies must distribute a pamphlet produced by the Department of Public Health with each painkiller prescription filled, to raise awareness of addiction risks.
- Callers to 911 who report heroin overdoses are granted immunity as a way to encourage witnesses to request life-saving assistance from authorities.
Contact Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer, Kevin J. Mahoney
If you or someone you love has been charged with a prescription drug crime or any other drug-related crime, you need an experienced Boston criminal defense attorney on your side to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. If you would like to meet with me to discuss your legal options, please call (617) 492-0055 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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