The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently reported that in 2017, opioid overdose deaths in Colorado totaled 578. This equates to roughly 10 deaths for every 100,000 residents, a number that is the highest recorded throughout Colorado history.
Interestingly, the rate at which doctors have been prescribing these drugs to their patients has been falling steadily since 2012. So, how can opioid overdose deaths be on the rise when doctors prescriptions for opioids continue to go down? And, what are some of the results we’re seeing in Denver as a result of this spike in opioid abuse?
In this week’s blog, we’re addressing these questions and offering some legal perspective on what is fast becoming an opioid epidemic in Colorado.
The biggest victims of opioid abuse can sometimes not be the abuser of the drugs him or herself. Rather, it’s the family, friends, loved ones, and other members of society who can end up suffering the most. The State of Colorado has acknowledged the severity of the opioid issue, and Jared Polis, the Governor, has even dedicated the month of August as Naloxone Awareness Month.
[Naloxone is an anti-narcotic drug that is administered nasally to reduce the risk of overdose if/when too many opioid drugs are taken. Jared Polis and the Colorado State Government are working to spread awareness of the importance of having this drug in all homes that have opioid medications in them.]
What the rising tide of opioid-related deaths also means for Colorado is stricter enforcement of controlled substance possession, manufacturing, and distribution violations. According to Colorado drug laws currently on the books, prescription pain medications fall under ‘Schedule II’, a classification of drugs that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Oxycodone (or Oxycontin)
If there is not a valid prescription that can be produced by the possessor of any of the above substances, Colorado law enforcement will be especially motivated to bring criminal charges against the accused. What’s more, Colorado judges and prosecuting attorneys are more likely now than ever to prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible.
This is why it’s critically important to know your rights if you’re someone who is being accused of an opioid-related crime. You are owed due process in the criminal justice system, and the Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, PC can help ensure that you have the best defense possible as you navigate the court system in Colorado.
Penalties for opioid-related crimes in Colorado range widely across a broad spectrum. For first-time, misdemeanor possession charges, a conviction could only mean having to pay a moderate fine and receive some drug-related education provided by a state-vetted organization.
However, on the other end of the drug charge severity continuum, a Level 1 Drug Felony conviction could result in up to 32 years in prison. As you can see, there’s a lot at stake here—making who you choose to represent you in court absolutely crucial to increasing your chances of a preferred outcome.
If you’re facing criminal drug charges, what is going to help you more than anything else is confidential, knowledgeable advice and legal representation from a proven, experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the Colorado laws. Matthew Martin has personally walked dozens of criminal defense cases through to dismissal, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences because he knows how the system works.
Any time Matthew Martin takes on a new criminal defense case, the following three guiding principles always apply:
- Clients rights are prioritized over anything else. We want your rights protected at every turn, something we’ll fight for using strategies and tactics that have been shown to produce positive results in the past.
- Confidentiality is 100% assured. The details of your case will never go beyond the conversations you have with Matthew Martin or members of the Matthew Martin legal defense team.
- You will be treated with honesty, respect, and understanding. We realize that defending yourself in a criminal court of law is stressful, emotionally draining, and downright scary. At The Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, PC, we do all we can to educate you on your options, take actions that uphold your rights, and do everything in our power to provide you with the best legal representation possible.