The coverage of the growing epidemic of opioid abuse has been written about and discussed at length. Thousands of Texans die from opioid abuse each year, and many more struggle with addiction to common painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. But the costs of this epidemic also reverberate in the legal system. Every year, Texans struggling with addiction are arrested and prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance. The system has failed them, and their arrest is the continuation of this failed system.
Do you or a friend or family member need treatment for opioid addiction? Are you concerned that treatment for opioid addiction will be used as evidence of guilt? Don't be! The law favors and encourages people obtaining help wherever needed. Doug Murphy has a strong history of working with some of the nations best inpatient treatment centers to combine personal treatment with his legal defense to obtain favorable outcomes for his clients. Doug Murphy is a fierce advocate for his clients bettering themselves so that personal issues are dealt with at the same time as legal issues.
If you have been arrested for possession of an opioid in the Houston, Texas area, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today. Attorney Doug Murphy is the top drug defense attorney in Houston and has the track record to back it up. The consequences of a conviction for drug possession are steep, but that doesn't mean you don't have a chance at successfully defending yourself. With a strong defense, you have the opportunity to avoid a conviction entirely.
What is an Opioid?
Opioids are a substance that has an effect on the opioid receptors in your brain. They are primarily used as pain relievers but are also known for other medical purposes like suppressing coughs, treating diarrhea, and even for reversing an opioid overdose.
Opioids also have severe side effects, including
- constipation, and
They are used as drugs of abuse due to the feeling of euphoria they give a user, and they are known for being extremely habit-forming.
Opioids vs. Opiates
Opioids are often confused with opiates, but there is an important distinction between the two. Opiates are drugs derived from the opium poppy plant, including heroin and morphine. Opiates are any drug, natural or synthetic, that has an effect on the opioid receptors in your brain. Opioids include opiates as well as other drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone.
In other words, all opiates are opioids, but not all opioids are opiates.
Physical Appearance of Opioids
Opioids include a wide range of natural and synthetic substances, so it is no surprise that the drug can come in many forms.
These drugs typically come in the form of pills, both in their pure form as well as mixed with other substances like over-the-counter painkillers. Opioids often can be found in the form of cough syrup as well.
Opioid Street Names
Because opioids include such a broad group of drugs, they are often referred to by their brand names like Lortab or Abstral. In addition, they also have some common street names that are often derived from these brand names. The common street names for opioids include:
- Captain Cody
- Doors and Fours
- Pancakes and Syrup
- Miss Emma
- White Stuff
- Pain Killer
- China Girl
- Dance Fever
- Murder 8
- Tango and Cash
- China White
- Oxy 80
- Hillbilly Heroin
What are the Effects of Opioids?
Opioids are, first and foremost, pain relievers intended to target medium to severe pain. But the effect opioids are best known for are its addictive nature.
In fact, few drugs are as habit-forming as opioids. That's because opioids alter the way your brain detects and responds to pain. As you become reliant on opioids, your body will actually feel worse without continued doses of opioids. Because of the way the body develops a tolerance for these drugs, many abusers end up increasing their use. In the worst case, this leads to overdose and death.
There are other serious side effects as well, and they include:
- Mood Swings
- Dry mouth
- Dry throat
- Trouble Urinating
- Contracted Pupils
How are opioids classified under federal law?
In the United States, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 categorizes all drugs into one of five drug schedules. Of the five schedules, Schedule I drugs are the most regulated while Schedule V drugs are the least regulated. For the most part, Schedule I drugs either have limited medical use or are extremely addictive.
Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, all opioids (including opiates) are classified as schedule II substances due to the habit-forming nature of the drugs. Other Schedule II drugs include PCP, methamphetamine, methadone, cocaine, and Ritalin.
How are opioids classified under Texas State law?
Under the laws of the State of Texas, drugs are treated a little differently than under federal law. Instead of five schedules, Texas state law sets out six drug penalty groups through the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The only federally controlled substance excluded from the drug penalty groups is marijuana, which has unique sentencing guidelines. The six penalty groups set out in the Texas Controlled Substances Act are:
- Penalty Group 1
- Penalty Group 1A
- Penalty Group 2
- Penalty Group 2A
- Penalty Group 3
- Penalty Group 4
Every drug penalty group has a minimum and maximum sentencing range. Upon conviction, your sentence will be determined by the penalty group the drug you were possessing is a member of as well as the volume of that drug.
When it comes to sentences, penalty group 1 carries the strictest sentences while penalty group 4 contains the lightest sentences. Light is a relative term of course, as a conviction for possessing a large amount of a penalty group 4 substance can cost you the rest of your life in prison.
In Texas, opioids are classified as members of penalty group 1. It's no surprise given the highly addictive nature of the drug. Other members of penalty group 1 include cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, peyote, and most hallucinogens. Unlawful possession of any penalty group 1 drug, including opioids, are charged as a felony in Texas.
Hiring the Best Houston Drug Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for possessing an opioid without a valid prescription in Houston TX, the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help. Doug Murphy is an experienced trial attorney that is recognized as a Board Certified expert in criminal defense law. To discuss your case with the best defense attorney in Houston, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation.