As someone who attended college in the early to mid 1980s, I can remember the popularity of cocaine. The stigma attached to the drug certainly was not what it is today and, to say that it was in vogue in some circles, would probably be an understatement. I see a parallel between those times and what is going on today with possession and distribution of prescription drugs like oxycontin, roxycontin, xanax, vicodin, and other opiate pills.
All anyone has to do is open a newspaper or turn on the TV and there is no escaping a story about someone who has been negatively effected by prescription medications. The list goes on and on – most recently resulting in the overdose death of Cory Haim. Many individuals view the situation as an epidemic. I cannot say that I disagree based on what I am seeing in my NJ criminal defense practice. All walks are effected and we have even represented doctors, lawyers and pharmacists on prescription drug possession and/or fraud cases. There is no escaping, however, that the largest segment we are encountering are young adults who developed a fancy for opiate medication late in high school or college. The demise of these kids can be very tragic and we have even seen multiple deaths in our office. It seems that the drugs are readily accessible on campus or elsewhere and we know they can be as addictive as heroin. Notwithstanding the numerous stories of ruin and death from illegal prescription use, we are not seeing a reversal like we witnessed in the 80s when Len Bias overdosed on cocaine. While this trend benefits me and my firm financially, I sincerely wish this epidemic would end.