The Legalities of Prescription Drug Abuse

The United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. Approximately 130 people die each day from opioid-related drug overdoses, and countless people misuse prescription drugs every year. Still, many of these highly addictive drugs are legal, which means as long as you have a prescription, you should be able to carry your medication without any problems.

Unfortunately, many people who abuse prescription drugs do have a prescription. Abusing drugs is never good, but when does prescription drug misuse become illegal?

While it would be easy to say drug use with a prescription is legal and drug use without a prescription is illegal, the situation is not always that simple.

What Is “Doctor Shopping?”

Doctor shopping” is the practice of visiting multiple physicians to obtain multiple prescriptions for otherwise illegal drugs. Many people who are abusing or addicted to opioids claim to be a new patient or someone visiting from out of town to get a new prescription without their regular provider’s knowledge. In this way, people with addictions fulfill their cravings. Sometimes, drug dealers even use this strategy to obtain drugs to sell.

Sadly, doctors are occasionally involved in the scheme, as well. Doctors who write prescriptions without exams or diagnoses are called “writers” or “writing doctors.” Offices that sell prescriptions to addicts and dealers are also known as “pill mills.”

Is Doctor Shopping Illegal

Yes. Doctor shopping is illegal in all 50 states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “obtaining controlled substances from multiple healthcare practitioners without the prescribers’ knowledge of the other prescription” is nationally recognized as fraud and carries felony charges in most states.

What Else Makes Prescription Drug Abuse Illegal?

Even if you have a prescription, carrying drugs with the intention to sell is illegal. You can also be arrested for “sharing” drugs with friends or family members, even if it’s for a legitimate medical reason.

Additionally, you cannot possess controlled substances without a prescription in New York. If you do, you could be charged with misdemeanor possession.

Of course, some opioids, like heroin and certain types of fentanyl, are not legal under any circumstances. All too often, people start with valid prescriptions and seek illegal substances when their drug use begins to spiral. Possessing any type of heroin can quickly lead to a felony charge.

Learn more about the charges for opioid possession here.

Prescription Drug Defense

The laws for prescription drugs can be confusing. As long as you are not selling or “sharing” drugs, it seems to matter more whether or not you have a valid prescription than whether or not you are using prescription drugs in a safe and healthy way.

If you are arrested and have your prescription or intentions brought into question, our prescription drug defense lawyers can help.

Trust Foley Griffin, LLP to put more than 75 years of legal experience on your side and pursue the best possible outcome in your case.

We offer free consultations – call us at (888) 966-8480 or contact us online to schedule yours today.

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