As opioid prescription painkiller addiction continues to be a problem across the area, attorneys at a local law office are offering to represent defendants in two counties free of charge in certain opioid possession cases, if those charged seek help for addiction.
On June 29, 2017, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law a bill that more closely regulates the prescribing of pain killers, which state officials say has resulted in an increase in addiction and helped fuel an opioid crisis that is killing an average of more than three people a day in North Carolina. The Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention or STOP Act limits doctors to prescribing no more than a five-day supply of opioids such as Percocet during an initial visit to treat a patient’s pain issue, such as a broken bone. Doctors can prescribe a bigger supply during follow-up visits, and the limit doesn’t apply to cancer patients and others being treated for chronic pain. A recent medical study found that the chances of turning an initial post-surgery prescription of an opioid painkiller into a serous long-term addiction is a troubling one in sixteen people.
Consequently, the law firm of Harbinson, Brzykcy, and Corbett, Attorneys at Law — with offices in Taylorsville and Statesville — are offering their legal services as criminal defense attorneys to help those with an opioid addiction by providing an incentive to seek treatment.
Senior partner Joel Harbinson stated, “Beginning January 1, 2018, our firm will represent defendants free of charge in all criminal matters in Alexander and Iredell County for criminal offenses originating in 2018 in which they are charged with mere possession — but not a manufacturing, sale, delivery, or trafficking — of a Schedule II or III opioid controlled substance. The defendant must immediately become enrolled in — and successfully complete — an in-patient drug treatment program of not less than four weeks while the charges are pending. In addition, after completion of such a rehabilitation program, the defendant can not obtain additional criminal charges while the original criminal drug offenses are pending.”
“If a defendant honestly acknowledges his or her addiction and constructively seeks treatment for it, we will gladly represent them for free as long as they show they are doing something about their substance abuse problem,” said Harbinson, who will be in charge of handling such cases in Alexander County.
Bryan Corbett, resident partner of the Statesville office who handles all criminal matters in Iredell County also stated, “We only hope that in some small way we can contribute to the successful resolution of an individual’s addiction so that all of society benefits as well as the defendant. Our firm wants those with an opioid problem to channel their financial resources into a successful rehab program rather than worrying about hiring an attorney in addition to their costs of rehabilitation.”
Caryn Brzykcy, managing partner of Harbinson, Brzykcy, & Corbett, called on criminal defense attorneys in the remaining counties across the state to donate similar legal services to help those with opioid addictions to seek the professional counseling they need to help rid society of this public health epidemic.