Medical science continues to improve medications to help patients through difficult times. Whether they are dealing with mood or anxiety disorders, sleep issues, pain management, or even the common cold, medications help many people cope with the symptoms so they can lead normal lives. Unfortunately, many medications also have the side effect of being powerfully addictive, and this can result in a life that is far from normal.
When a patient becomes addicted to prescription drugs, he or she may have to take drastic and even illegal measures to obtain the drug of choice. Since medications are heavily regulated, the laws related to the possession and use of prescription drugs are quite strict, and the penalties for violating those laws can be severe. If authorities have arrested you for offenses related to the possession of prescription drugs, you may have valid concerns about your future.
Handle your prescriptions with care
California and federal authorities’ valiant efforts to curb the long-reaching ramifications of drug abuse and addiction mean those who do not comply with the rules may face serious legal consequences. Therefore, having or using someone else’s prescription meds is against the law, even if a friend offers you a pill for your pain. In fact, there are numerous ways in which prescription medications can get you into trouble, for example:
- Possessing prescription drugs for which you do not have a prescription
- Possessing prescriptions drugs in a quantity, form or concentration that doesn’t match your prescription
- Having expired medications in your possession
- Having your medication in a container that does not have a valid prescription label on it
- Carrying prescription drugs that are not yours, even if you are simply holding them for a friend
- Using prescription medications for a purpose other than the reason for the prescription
While the penalties for prescription drug violations can be severe, they often depend on the quantity and intention of the person who is in possession of the drugs. Additionally, if you have several similar prescriptions from different doctors, officials may believe you are “doctor shopping” or that you intend to sell or distribute the drugs. This could lead to even more serious consequences.
If you are facing criminal charges related to your possession of prescription medication, there are likely many questions to ask, including whether the police conducted a valid search to find the medication. Because a conviction may result in crippling fines and significant jail time, you would be wise to learn about your legal options.