Mixed Messages About Take-Home Medications For Opioid Treatment
You are not to blame if you are confused by federal and state drug laws. In some cases, a drug can be legal while one that is very similar to it is illegal, or the same drug may be legal in some contexts but not others. There are even instances where whether a certain drug counts as a therapeutic medication or a drug of abuse is a matter of perspective. This month, voters in several states are expressing their views in referendums on whether to decriminalize cannabis at the state level, and Colorado voters are even deciding whether to legalize psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in some mushroom species, for medical use. Medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder has existed for decades, and public opinion is divided about the best way to ensure that patients have access to medication while minimizing the risk that people will be able to sell these drugs illegally, as can happen with any prescription opioid. If, despite your efforts to comply with the law, you are being charged with illegal possession of prescription opioids, contact a Florida drug offense attorney.
Is Methadone the New Suboxone?
The words “methadone clinic” have stricken fear in the hearts of people struggling with opioid use disorder since long before the term “opioid use disorder” existed. The trouble is not with methadone; the drug itself is an opioid which, when administered in maintenance doses, can prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms while also not producing intoxication or the risk of respiratory depression. In fact, doctors may prescribe methadone on an outpatient basis for the treatment of chronic pain, just as they can prescribe Percocet or any other prescription opioids. The trouble with methadone clinics is that the requirement that patients attend the clinic each day, seven days per week, to receive medication, is burdensome; one journalist described it as “liquid handcuffs.”
Some lawmakers urge changes to regulations, such that doctors would be able to prescribe a month-long supply of methadone, as they can with Suboxone, another opioid-containing drug used to treat opioid use disorder. During the pandemic, emergency regulations were in place where, if doctors were confident that a patient’s condition was stable and the patient had undergone at least 60 days of inpatient treatment, they could prescribe methadone for 14-day courses or even 28-day courses. Lawmakers are considering making this change permanent.
This has two possible consequences for your drug possession case. The first is that, if you enter a pretrial diversion program, you could get access to medication-assisted treatment as part of your court-ordered drug rehabilitation. The other is that it is possible to get criminal charges for illegal possession of opioids used to treat opioid addiction, including methadone and buprenorphine.
Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Charges for Possession of Medication-Assisted Treatment Drugs
A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges for possession of buprenorphine or other drugs that are used medically to treat drug addiction. Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.