For many in Maryland who suffer from painful illnesses, injuries or surgeries, prescription medications help them deal with the pain while their bodies recover. Other drugs help patients who struggle with symptoms of depression, attention deficit, schizophrenia and a host of other physical and mental conditions. Because these drugs are often powerful and dangerous if misused, the federal government places tough restrictions on their distribution.
One of the restrictions is that you need an order from a doctor to obtain pharmaceutical medications in certain categories. Having possession of prescriptions drugs without a prescription, or in violation of your prescription, can lead to serious legal trouble that you may find difficult to handle on your own.
Prescription drug crimes
The government regulates many drugs because they are addictive, and their hold on the addict is often life-threatening. When someone abuses prescription medications, they may resort to dangerous and illegal behaviors to obtain more of the drug. Some of these actions may include the following:
- Committing fraud to obtain prescriptions for the drug
- Purchasing prescription drugs on the black market
- Selling drugs to get money to support the drug habit
- Stealing prescriptions from family members or from work, such as a nurse or doctor
If authorities find you with prescription drugs when you do not have a valid prescription, you may be facing possession charges, which may be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the type and quantity. Felony charges may also result if you have previous convictions or if authorities can connect the drugs to acts of fraud or theft. A conviction for charges related to prescription drugs can carry penalties that range from fines and probation to years in prison.
Getting the help you need
Even if you have a valid prescription, authorities may charge you if your prescription has passed its expiration date, if you have more than the prescribed quantity or if you are carrying the drugs outside a validly labeled container. This may be a simple mistake, such as holding a friend’s prescription or carrying your pills in a baggie to avoid carrying the entire bottle. However, the widespread problem of prescription drug addiction and the subsequent suffering and crime may cause police and prosecutors to be rigid in their interpretation of the law.
If you are facing charges of unlawful possession of prescription drugs, you do not want to take the chance of a conviction that could derail your life. A skilled attorney can fight to get you the help you need and work to minimize the negative consequences of the charges you face.