Prescription medications help countless people every day live, work and function at a quality of life they would not otherwise be able to enjoy. The benefits to society are obvious, but, of course, there are some downsides as well. Many people abuse prescription drugs and become addicted to the point of dependence. This is a serious epidemic in America that is often overlooked simply because the drugs are prescribed.

According to WBUR, crimes involving prescription drugs are on the rise—as are death and addiction rates. If you have been charged with a crime that involves drugs of any kind, you should discuss your case with a lawyer before you speak with law enforcement or make any statements.

Unlawful possession

Unlawful possession is one of the most common drug-related crimes. If you are found to be in possession of prescription drugs that are not your own, this is likely the charge you will receive. Though it is likely to be a misdemeanor, it should be taken seriously, and you should build a defense against such allegations. The charge may also accompany charges of theft if you purportedly stole the medication from its owner.

Intent to distribute

You might be accused of possessing another person’s medication, and you likely intended to use it for yourself or distribute it to others. If your intentions were the latter, intent to distribute is another charge you may find yourself slapped with. This, however, can be a felony. The stakes are high in such circumstances, and having a solid defense on your side is essential.

Driving under the influence

Most people associate driving under the influence with alcohol, but it is increasingly common for drivers to be impaired by prescription drugs. Whether the drugs are yours, if you are unable to drive safely because of their influence, you are liable to be charged with DUI. Be safe and never get behind the wheel after ingesting drugs that affect you strongly.