Prescription drugs provide much-needed relief for many people. Sadly, some of the same drugs that were created for alleviating pain are in fact causing terrible misery for many New Jersey residents. Many of these drugs are highly addictive and can even serve as a gateway to the use of illegal drugs.

Part of the problem may be the accessibility of prescription opioids. The U.S., while having less than 5 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 80 percent of the total consumption of opioids worldwide.

Those who abuse prescription painkillers do not typically purchase them from drug dealers. In fact, more than 70 percent of prescription painkiller abusers obtain the drugs from relatives or friends.

According to a medical advisor at the National Safety Council, the use of prescription painkillers is often a steppingstone to heroin addiction. The advisor says that addicts will switch from painkillers to heroin because heroin is less expensive.

Clearly, prescription painkillers, while useful for those who have a genuine need, are also insidiously addictive. Drug addiction is a rabbit hole down which anyone could tumble. Those who are in the clutches of addiction are not well served by punishment, but rather by proper care and treatment.

Unfortunately, when in the throes of addiction, it is all too easy for someone to get picked up on possession charges. Unauthorized possession of prescription drugs and all instances of heroin possession garner very serious criminal charges.

If you or someone you love has run afoul of drug laws in New Jersey, a criminal defense attorney may be able to successfully help you avoid jail time or other serious penalties. The attorney could build a defense based on your need for a drug diversion program in an effort to get you the rehabilitative help you need.