Over the past decade, our firm has seen an explosion in clients addicted to Vicodin who commit felonies in order to get more of this very addictive drug. Where does it start? How can it end? What do the courts in Ohio do with clients charged with Deception to Obtain a Dangerous Drug, Theft, or Drug Abuse?
If you or someone you care about is or may be addicted to hydrocodone (Vicodin), the cycle of the addiction tends to follow a similar path. I've seen 3 primary entrance ramps for clients to get on the expressway to Vicodin addiction which leads to a felony arrest. First, is chronic pain that our client cannot get under control. Some of our female clients suffer from fibromyalgia and use Vicodin (in addition to other palliative measures) to relieve the discomfort. Other clients have pre-existing back or other degenerative conditions that doctors treat with narcotics like Vicodin. Third, are recreational users who like feeling the effects of Vicodin to numb emotional or mental pain (known as self-medication). It is my experience that most of our clients will claim a pre-existing physical condition despite the fact that the actual cause of the continued us is actual chemical addiction.
For folks who have never tried hydrocodone, users report the high as "euphoric". Medical professionals remind us that hydrocodone is a narcotic that produces effects and have addictive properties much like heroin, opium, and morphine. Also, our clients tend to use alcohol with the Vicodin as alcohol enhances the effects of Vicodin.
Physically, our bodies may have a difficult time metabolizing and processing these pharmaceuticals in a safe manner. Long term liver damage, other side effects, overdosing, or death can occur with little or no warning. Detoxing from Vicodin addiction should occur in a medically monitored environment that specializes in detoxification from opiates.
As a result of the addiction, cravings, and doing anything to get more doses of Vicodin, our clients "doctor shop". They will establish physician-patient relationships with several doctors and those doctors will prescribe Vicodin without knowing the patient is going to other doctors with the same alleged ailments to get multiple prescriptions. What these future clients do not realize is that Vicodin is heavily regulated and monitored. Eventually, detectives will discover this pattern and arrest the patient. Also, patients may have an inordinate times they have "lost" their prescription or need a prescription "early to go on vacation". Doctors, family and friends should listen up if a person using Vicodin says it is their "favorite".
Also, we see many medical assistants, nurses, and other medical professionals who will call in prescriptions using a patient's identity. This is called Deception to Obtain a Dangerous Drug and is a felony in Ohio. In addition to facing criminal prosecution, the Ohio State Medical Board or Board of Nursing will intervene if one of its licensees is involved in this type of activity.
How do clients obtain this drug other than doctor shopping or calling in a fake prescription? The internet is a very easy place to obtain these drugs illegally. The black market of the streets of Ohio make it easy to obtain pills.
We also represent people charged with trafficking in Vicodin each year. This will be selling or giving Vicodin to other people - with or without financial gain. The mere act of giving a controlled substance to another person is drug trafficking in Ohio.
Our firm responds to these calls immediately and we take action quickly. We will interview the client and refer them out to a licensed chemical dependency counselor for an assessment. Depending upon the level of the addiction, we will coordinate with our client and his / her family for the client to enter treatment. If a criminal case is pending, we will seek permission from the court for the client to enter treatment and allow us to postpone the prosecution until the client is discharged.
The courts of Ohio tend to favor rehabilitation over punishment for first offenders caught up on Vicodin addiction. We are quite proud of our role in intervening , directing clients to treatment, and protecting them from prison.