Is there a misunderstanding about what a narcotic is?
Attorney

Is there a misunderstanding about what a narcotic is?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | Drug Crimes |

Sometimes, people don’t understand the meaning of a word legally versus how it’s used for slang or among the general population. An excellent example is the term “narcotic.” Most people use the word narcotic to refer to illegal drugs like heroin or opium. Many believe that it refers to any substance that will dull pain or the senses.

The real definition? Narcotics just means opioids and their derivatives. That means that the term narcotics can refer to illicit drugs like heroin or to legal drugs prescribed by medical professionals, like hydrocodone or morphine.

Why does the terminology matter? If you’re accused of possessing narcotics, you shouldn’t assume that what you had in your possession was illegal. Instead, all the accusation means is that you had an opioid in your possession at the time of an arrest.

Not all narcotics are illegal

Since not all narcotics are illegal, it’s important to know that the accusations you’re facing could be for possessing a legal drug illegally or could be completely erroneous. For example, if you had a prescription for hydrocodone and seven pills but your bottle contains 14, an officer might arrest you for possession. Why? You possess more than you are legally allowed to possess based on your prescription.

You can also be charged for selling legal narcotics. For example, if you sell Vicodin to a friend with a headache, it’s possible to face drug charges for doing so.

Terminology matters when it comes to defending yourself

A misunderstanding of the terminology that people use to discuss your case can make a difference when you’re trying to defend yourself or, at trial, trying to sway a jury. It’s always important to make sure that people understand exactly what kinds of charges they’re facing and that those who are involved in fighting for sentencing are using the terms correctly, too. You can legally possess narcotics in some cases, so simply possessing narcotics itself is not necessarily a crime. The exact manner of possession as well as the specific narcotic in your possession is what has an influence on how your case will be handled.