Our country is facing a drug crisis and the State of North Carolina is not immune to its effects. Opioids, otherwise known as narcotics, are a family of dangerous drugs that are commonly used, and often abused, throughout the United States.
What are narcotics?
Narcotics are painkillers that alleviate a person’s pain by binding themselves to pain receptors in the nervous system. These drugs are often prescribed (legally) to treat severe pain. There are both legal narcotics and illegal narcotics. As long as they are prescribed by a doctor and taken according to the prescription, drugs such as codeine, fentanyl, methadone, and morphine are all considered legal narcotics. When used outside of a prescription or the recommended dose, however, these same medications become illegal. Other common illegal narcotics include heroin and opium.
The dangers of addiction
When taken over time, narcotics, even legal ones taken according to a doctor’s prescription, can become addictive. A person is even more likely to develop an addiction if he or she uses these drugs outside of a doctor’s prescription or abuses an illegal type, such as heroin, which is highly addictive almost immediately.
A person can begin to crave the “high” that the drug provides and soon can become dependent on the drug to just feel normal. Over time, it is common to develop a physical dependence on narcotics to simply get through the day.
Not only are narcotics addictive, expensive and detrimental to a person’s health, they are also often deadly. Drug overdose deaths are on the rise across the country. According to the CDC, in 2017 alone, there were 70,237 overdose deaths in the U.S., 67.8% of which were due to opioids.
The legal consequences of narcotics use
In addition to their dangerous health effects narcotics, narcotics carry legal dangers and consequences. Convictions for narcotics possession usually result in fines and/or jail time, depending on the type of drug a person is found to possess and whether he has a prior criminal record.
North Carolina law views narcotics as having a “high potential for abuse” and therefore the highest penalties are imposed for possession of these drugs. For example, a first offender who is found in possession of heroin will be charged with a Class I Felony and can face four to five months in jail.
Because narcotics use carries such dangerous consequences, both for a person’s health and future, it is important to speak both with a healthcare provider or substance abuse counselor as well as a North Carolina criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one are using narcotics or have been arrested for narcotics possession.
If you’re currently facing charges, Attorney Jeremy Cotten can help. He has served hundreds of clients through Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties and is ready to meet with you to discuss your case. Give him a call or click over to the main page to speak with a legal assistant 24 hours a day.