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Prescription pain relievers and criminal charges

Prescription pain medications are necessary to provide relief to those with certain medical issues, such as chronic pain or recovery from surgery. Unfortunately, these drugs also have criminal uses. Painkillers are not legal for every person. They are only legal for those with prescriptions and in specific amounts. 

You may face jail time and fines for misusing pain relief medications. Here are some examples of the most common prescription drug offenses.

Illegitimate use

It is unlawful to take medications that are not prescribed to you. If you take pain meds from a friend, family member or a stranger, you may face criminal charges. Using or possessing a prescription drug in an illegal manner is a serious offense. Prescription drug abuse may also come with deadly consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdose (which includes fentanyl and heroin) killed approximately 42,000 people in 2016. Forty percent of these deaths involved prescription drugs.

Sale or distribution

Due to the opioid crisis in this country, many people seek out drugs outside of proper prescriptions. Selling or distributing these drugs is against the law. Doctors, pharmacists and drug dealers may all commit this crime. An illegal sale may occur when someone who has a legitimate prescription sells pills to someone else. A health care provider may write prescriptions that are not medically necessary or for greater amounts than a patient actually needs. Pharmacists may fill invalid prescriptions or take pills off the shelves to sell on the streets. 

Just because certain drugs are legal in specific contexts does not make offenses relating to them any less serious. The abuse and sale of prescription drugs is a real problem, especially in cases of Percocet and Vicodin. Do not assume you will not face an arrest or charges for illicit use of these drugs. You may face the threat of serious fines and imprisonment.

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