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South Carolina gets tough on prescription drug crimes

Those who abuse prescription drugs often have addictions that are not easy to overcome. Prescription drug abuse can lead to severe injuries and even death, and many of those who misuse prescription drugs need professional help to stop. Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse appears to be on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of fatal prescription opioid painkiller overdoses tripled from the year 1999 to 2010. 

It can be difficult for South Carolina residents to find the help they need when the are struggling with addictions to drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin and others. South Carolina is one of several states that is now trying to fight prescription drug abuse by creating tougher penalties for criminal charges related to prescription drugs.

South Carolina lawmakers have recently proposed a new law that would result in harsher consequences for prescription drug trafficking.

As it stands, all drug trafficking penalties depend on the weight of drugs that are seized by authorities. This new measure would make the severity of a prescription drug trafficking charge depend on the number of pills seized rather than their weight. If a person was convicted of a charge related to having at least 600 prescription pills illegally, for example, he or she could face a minimum of 15 years in prison.

The law would also make it a crime to hold more than one prescription for the same controlled substance and to possess prescription medications illegally.

Tougher criminal consequences are unlikely to provide prescription drug addicts with the support they need to kick the dangerous habit. Those who face prescription drug charges in South Carolina need to ensure that they understand their rights and have the chance to resolve the case in the best way possible.

Source: Associated Press, "Friends common source of abused prescription meds," March 3, 2014

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