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Medical Controlled Substance Crimes in Michigan

Drug Crime Lawyers in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids & Paw Paw

Individuals in the health professionals are susceptible to the same health concerns as the rest of us. At the same time, many have special access to prescription medications. For those with substance abuse or mental illness, this can lead to a host of legal problems.

The American Medical Association clearly considers self-prescribing unethical.
According to the Opinion 8.19 of the AMA Code of Medical Ethics, "physicians generally should not treat themselves or members of their immediate families."

However, new physicians and residents work long hours and are given many new responsibilities, including prescribing medications. The combination of their vulnerability and newfound responsibilities makes them more likely to self-prescribe, but such behaviors are rarely witnessed. The same holds true for others in the medical field, such as nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians and others who work in their offices.

Accessing these medications may take the form of self-prescription or altering prescription forms or obtaining controlled substances by fraud or false pretenses or larceny of medications in stock at the hospital or medical offices, including samples given by drug company representatives. Such things can result in criminal prosecution and the loss of one's career.

The Health Professional Recovery Program (HPRP)

In 1993, the legislature created the Health Professional Recovery Program (HPRP), which is a confidential program designed to encourage health professionals to seek treatment before their substance abuse or mental illness damages their careers.

By motivating health professional licensees to enter treatment and to recover from their impairment, the HPRP serves to minimize the losses and other negative impacts, which have occurred in the past when substance use disorders and mental health disorders were addressed only as if they were criminal acts.

Once health professionals are accepted into HPRP, their participation and records are not subject to subpoena or the Freedom of Information Act. For those who complete the program, all records are destroyed after five years. Through this caring and compassionate approach to these treatable conditions, the HPRP is able to bring opportunity for recovery without the threat of punishment.

Employers Turning to Prosecution Over Treatment

Unfortunately, in this economy, employers are less inclined to address issues of substance abuse, mental illness and the behaviors that these disorders cause by accessing the HPRP. Moreover, employers are choosing to report misuse or theft of controlled substances to law enforcement and seek to terminate those particular employees, knowing that filling those positions will be easier with so many out of work.

At Willis Law, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of health professionals facing criminal charges in Michigan. We believe in the HPRP and believe that substance abuse and mental illness should be treated by trained therapists, not by police and prosecutors.

Contact an Adderall or Ritalin Prescription Fraud Defense Attorney

If you need a skilled and hardworking criminal defense lawyer to stand by your side and fight for you, striving for use of the HPRP over prosecution, please contact us today for a free consultation. From our law offices in Kalamazoo, Paw Paw and Grand Rapids, we defend doctors, nurses and other health professionals facing all types of criminal charges throughout West Michigan.

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