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DUID: Not what the doctor ordered

It can begin with something as innocent and painful as a sprained ankle. Every time you take a step, you wince. Simple tasks are made difficult. The solution is simple: you ask your doctor for medication to keep the pain under control. He or she obliges -- and that's when the trouble begins.

Prescription drug abuse plagues Denver and other big cities. Access to the medications has become easier over recent years, giving America a problem with legal, prescribed drugs that experts say today dwarfs difficulties with illegal narcotics.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, prescription drugs are the third most common drug-abuse category, trailing only alcohol and marijuana. Like those two, prescription drug use can result in impairment that can lead to an arrest for driving under the influence.

In Colorado, the offense is known as DUID (driving under the influence as drugs). The penalties for conviction are just as harsh as those for alcohol-related DUI. You're at risk of jail time, loss of your driver's license, mandatory community service, fines and a criminal record that can complicate job searches and educational opportunities.

The three categories of prescription drugs most abused are pain relievers, tranquilizers (sedatives) and stimulants, NCADD says. The organization says abuse of prescribed medications affects virtually every group, it is especially concerned by indications of growing problems among senior citizens, teens and young women.

A variety of organizations, mental health professionals and substance abuse treatment facilities in the Denver area can help those struggling with prescription drugs. Those experts provide you with effective assistance with addiction; for effective help with a DUID arrest, you can lean on a criminal defense attorney experienced in DUID defense.

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