All across the United States, prescription drug addiction has become an epidemic. The number of deaths that occur due to overdoses of prescription drugs has even surpassed the number of deaths resulting from illegal street drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 69% of over 70,000 drug overdose fatalities were due to opioid use. An estimated 130 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.
To try to slow down or stop these tragic deaths, state lawmakers have enacted some pretty tough laws against opioid abuse. Unlawful possession of any kind of prescription drug is now considered a felony offense. Georgia laws classify controlled substances into five different schedules. Schedule I narcotics are the most dangerous type that have no medical value and Schedule V drugs have the least potential for abuse and widely accepted medical value. Most opioid drugs are considered Schedule II drugs.
Penalties for Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs
When someone is caught in possession of prescription drugs that they have obtained unlawfully, they may be charged with the following penalties:
- Schedule I or II Narcotic Possession: A felony offense that can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Any subsequent convictions may result in punishment up to 30 years in prison.
- Schedule III, IV, or V Narcotic Possession: This is also a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison.
- Distributing, Selling, or Manufacturing a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance: This is a felony offense that can be punished with five to 30 years in prison. A second or subsequent conviction may be punishable by 10 to 40 years, or even life in prison.
One more common kind of prescription drug crime is prescription fraud. This type of crime is increasing in popularity and is defined as gaining access to a medication that requires a subscription through fraudulent means. Common types of prescription fraud include identity theft, or using another person’s identity to obtain his or her prescription; forgery, or using a doctor’s signature to get a prescription; impersonation of a doctor or healthcare provider; and doctor shopping, which means going to a variety of doctors to get the same prescription from all of them.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges for prescription drugs, the penalties can be harsh. This means that it is imperative that you obtain a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law know that just because you have been accused of a prescription drug crime does not mean you are a hardened criminal. Instead, it is likely that you have an addiction.
We understand this, and many court systems understand this, as well. In some situations, a criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade the court to let you enroll in a pretrial diversion program where you can get treatment for your addiction. This may also result in less strict penalties and, in some cases, the dismissal of your charges.
Contact the attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law today and let us help you ensure your rights are protected and you get the outcome that you deserve.