As many as 48 deaths in Georgia over the last two years have been linked to fentanyl, a prescription drug intended for treatment of severe pain. The overdoses are largely due to the mixing of fentanyl with illegal drugs, thus far heroin and cocaine, without the knowledge of the drug’s user. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also reports that fentanyl has been used in counterfeit pain killers, and that users of pills and powders purchased illegally on the streets should beware.
Safely Store and Dispose of Prescriptions
If your prescriptions are controlled substances, particularly fentanyl, you will want to ensure that your drugs do not contribute to the rising death toll. Luckily, this is fairly simple to do, and most patients probably already follow these simple tips:
- Store your prescription drugs in a safe place where others can not easily access them.
- Know where your prescriptions are; even leaving them in a public place could get you charged with misdemeanor abandonment of dangerous drugs or a controlled substance.
- Do not share your prescription drugs with others or accept prescription drugs written for someone else.
Perhaps the more important issue is the lack of knowledge of proper drug disposal. Any prescriptions left over after you have completed treatment need to be disposed of safely, of course, but so do used pain patches, particularly those containing fentanyl. Pain patches containing fentanyl will still contain some of the drug after use, making them useful to those wishing to sell them or mix fentanyl with other illegal drugs. Due to this danger, do not dispose of used pain patches or unused or expired medications in the garbage. Instead, take them to a pharmacy or hospital for safe disposal. This helps to ensure that these drugs do not end up on the streets where they may be sold as-is or mixed with other drugs to create deadly combinations.
What Constitutes Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs in Georgia?
Although it may sound complicated, this is really a very simple issue. If the drugs are not prescribed to the person in possession of them, it is illegal. Georgia code does not allow for any dispensation of a controlled substance without a medical professional’s prescription. Additionally, only a pharmacist can dispense the drugs. This also means that possession of drugs in excess of the prescription could invite legal trouble.
How much legal trouble possession incurs varies based on the schedule of the drug. Fentanyl is a Schedule I drug, which means that possessing it for any reason without a prescription is a felony. Sentencing depends on how much of the drug the offender possesses, but prison terms range from one to 15 years. Repeat offenders will spend even more time behind bars.
Consult a Criminal Law Attorney
If you or someone you love is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance or killed or injured by the dangerous combination of fentanyl and other drugs, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law today. This is a complicated issue, but our attorneys can help you to find the best defense option for you.