Many individuals assume that prescription drugs are “legal’ because a doctor prescribes them. However, many types of prescription medications may be extremely addictive, and taking them over extended periods may lead to severe side effects.
For this reason, state and federal law considers certain types of prescription drugs controlled substances.
From steep fines to jail time, possessing or sharing these types of controlled substances without a valid physician’s prescription may come with major consequences.
1. When might possession of a prescription drug be illegal?
Under state and federal law, it may be illegal to possess any type of prescription drug without a legitimate doctor’s order.
However, the court may consider certain types of easily abused medications to be especially problematic, including stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, opioid painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin and mood-stabilizing drugs like Valium or Xanax.
2. Is it legal to share medication with family or friends?
Even if a family member or close friend has a current prescription for the same medication, it may be illegal to share a portion of your own prescription with others. Doing so may result in charges of distribution, sale and/or trafficking.
3. How severe are prescription drug charges?
Depending on the specific medication, the severity of charges for illegal prescription drug possession may be comparable to charges for controlled non-prescription drugs. The type of penalties the court imposes may depend on what schedule the medication falls under and the amount found in possession.
Whether facing drug charges for the first time or dealing with ongoing addiction issues, individuals should know that there may be legal options available for minimizing penalties that may have a lifetime of consequences.