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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 115461
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I suffered an addiction to pain killers after a knee surgery

Customer Question

I suffered an addiction to pain killers after a knee surgery in 2005. I was married and had two little boys, had never been in any trouble and certainly did not know where to buy drugs. I had taken a medical terminology course and figured out how to call prescriptions in for myself...always using a female's name that I would just make up. I eventually got caught one day. They did find three separate names that I had called them in under. I was arrested and my family, who knew absolutely nothing that had been going on, immediately got me out of jail and to a rehab. My husband had known about it a few months prior but had not said anything to my family as I had asked him to. He was not too happy when he found out that I had still been taking pain pills. I have no recollection of the events surrounding those couple of years. I know that I was appointed a very nice, but young attorney. But I ended up pleading guilty to 13 counts, 4 of which were felony obtaining a controlled substance by forgery/fraud and 9 were felony obtaining a controlled substance by fraud only. I knew that I had called in several prescriptions over the last several years, so I guess I just didn't think to look at the exact charges or anything. I have a wonderful and huge family that is very supportive of me. They were right by my side every step of the way. This is the thing. A couple of weeks ago, I was going through a file that had been in storage at my ex-husband's since 2007. Tucked way down in the file were the 9 arrest warrants of the OCS by fraud. The case numbers matched up to the ones that I was charged with, but the thing is, they each one had my ex-husband listed as the "victim". They stated that I "picked up the prescriptions with his consent or knowledge". I was floored. I immediately asked all of my family members if they knew anything about him being involved with those charges and they didn't either. I pulled out all of the official legal documents that I had been given back then and over the last several years. Not one piece of paper had his name on it. Now it doesn't take a person very long to realize that my ex-husband is a very vindictive person. It doesn't help matters that he and my sister were constantly battling over my children and everything they could think of while I was in rehab trying to recover and was clueless as to what was going on anywhere else. I never knew that a wife could not pick up the prescriptions of her husbands (we were married and living together during the dates of each offense listed). I just think that this was totally made up or at the very least, a he said she said situation. My problem now is that I have an upcoming court date on February 1st and I have been indicted on habitual felon charges. I was also told a few months ago that I should have never been on Effexor, a medication prescribed to me in 2004, after the birth of my second son. I had never taken an illegal drug in my life prior to taking the pain pills and getting addicted.....I rarely drank. I couldn't even take the pain pills when they gave them to me in 2003 for my cesarean pain. I remember telling my husband they made me sick and have nightmares. According to everything I have read about Effexor and from what the psychiatrist told me (and she had no idea that I had suffered from an addiction) the Effexor made my depression worse instead of better because of the amount of dope- mine, serotonin, endorphin's, I really don't know the exact way it goes, but for lack of better words, the Effexor brought me down, therefore when I started on the pain pills, they had the opposite effect, they perked me up. Actually, they made me feel normal again. It is some form of chemical imbalance that is associated with bipolar, which I was diagnosed with several years ago, from what my family told me. The FDA info says that Effexor should never be prescribed to patients with bipolar disorder. I also should have never been put on it for postpartum depression by my OB-GYN for longer than 6 months without being monitored. I ended up being on it for 12 years. The psychiatrist finally helped to wean me off of it and my brain has finally gotten rid of some of the fog. I am not looking for an excuse to blame my addiction and any behavior on, I just want for someone to help me get some answers. The person that did all of these things is not the person I was before I started taking that medicine. I was a straight A student and cheerleader all through school, was never in any trouble at all, most of all, I was a loving wife and a stay at home mother of two boys, ages 3 and 6 at the time of all of this. They mean so, so much to me and they have suffered as much if not more throughout all of this. We have all been through so much. I just would like to speak with someone that will listen and try to help me. I do not know what else to do, I only have 2 weeks until my court date and the plea that I am being told to take is 5 years of active time. Please help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
An attorney does not need consent of a client to plead not guilty, that is the standard plea so the attorney can take time to work on the case. However, your mental issues are part of your defense in the case. Your attorney has to present a case of not guilty by reason of mental incapacity. This means they have to get you examined and the doctor has to testify that at the time you committed these offenses you did not know the difference between right and wrong and did not know what you were doing was illegal.
If you fired your one attorney and cannot afford any new one, you have to get a public defender to represent you since you are entitled to an attorney in your case free of charge if you cannot afford one. However, you are going to need to do that and you need to get a medical/mental health evaluation to use your defense of not guilty based on mental incapacity.
Now, in addition to your criminal case, you have a potential case against the drug manufacturer and you can sue them under product liability law for the harm their drug caused you that was not disclosed to you. You need to get a local product liability attorney for this case and they will not charge you up front for this and will handle the case on a contingency fee basis. So you need to take this civil action in addition to you getting a new attorney from the public defender's office.