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Prescription drug abuse is a crime with serious consequences

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently published its National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The data shows that 36 million Americans, age 12 and up, have abused prescription drugs at least once in life. At least 6.9 million first-time improper uses are made by those between the age of 18 to 25. Teens age 12 to 17 have the second-highest abuse rate at 2.7 million.

At least 10 percent of all American high school seniors have abused some type of narcotic during their lifetime. "Monitoring the Future Survey" researchers at the University of Michigan uncovered that barbiturates, tranquilizers and stimulants were most apt to be abused.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), part of the U.S. Department of Justice, the prescription drugs most apt to be abused by Americans include stimulants, pain relievers or opioids and depressants.

NDIC's researchers note that Americans abuse these drugs because they're easily accessible. They often get fake prescriptions from nurses or pharmacists or by doctor shopping themselves. Teens often steal prescription medications from their relatives and then distribute them to their peers.

Many of the individuals abuse these drugs by taking them as tablets. Others crushing them up or snort, inject or dissolve them in water. They all provide users with an altered physical or mental state for a relatively low cost. Many who take them don't realize how dangerous they are for their health.

Stimulants can cause individuals who consume them to experience seizures, paranoia, heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, high body temperature and hostility. Those who take pain relievers or opioids may experience life-ending respiratory arrest. Depressants may cause abusers to experience a decreased heart rate, seizures and respiratory depression.

Minneapolis residents who distribute or are found in possession of these drugs without a prescription may be arrested and charged with a crime. Minnesota prosecutors will often take into account how much and what type of drug an individual possessed when filing charges or recommending sentences in cases.

Convictions for such crimes can remain on your permanent record for a lifetime. This can greatly impact your ability to secure a job, student loans, custody of a child or obtain professional licenses. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system if you've been indicted for illegally possessing or distributing a prescription medication.

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