Illinois authorities are attempting to crack down on doctors who use their medical licenses to supply patients with a constant supply of opioids and other addictive drugs. The initiative is in response to statistics that show opioid overdoses have increased 60 percent in recent years.
According to media reports, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has cited over 100 doctors for improper prescribing practices over the past three years. For some doctors, the punishment has been a simple reprimand. However, other doctors have lost their medical license over the problem.
The head of the drug diversion unit of the Drug Enforcement Agency said that prescription opioids, anti-anxiety medications and muscle relaxers can feel like heroin when taken together. As a result, many addicts will seek out the combination, and many doctors are willing to write prescriptions for them. A medical expert with Rush University Medical Center claims that opioids currently kill more Americans than cancer or car accidents each year.
In Illinois, defendants convicted on drug offenses could be sentenced to prison and assessed steep fines. However, individuals facing drug charges may be able to help their situation by seeking the advice of a criminal defense attorney. An attorney could evaluate the evidence and develop a defense based on the details of the case. In some circumstances, it may be possible to get the charges dismissed or successfully fight the accusations in a jury trial. In others, an attorney could attempt to negotiate a more lenient sentence for a defendant. For example, a defendant with substance abuse problems could be eligible to attend a drug diversion program as an alternate penalty.
CBS Chicago, “A State Crackdown On Doctors Overprescribing Addictive And Dangerous Drugs“, Pam Zekman, May 2, 2018