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Can I Be Charged for Having Prescription Medication?

Prescription drugs provide relief from a variety of serious health conditions. However, there are strict requirements on how they are administered and carried by users. Illegally obtained prescription medication and not having it in the proper container can result in serious penalties. Our Atlanta drug crimes defense lawyer explains common types of criminal charges related to prescription drugs and the ramifications of a conviction.

Improper Use of Prescription Medications

While prescription medications can help save lives, they can also prove deadly when used improperly. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one million people have died as a result of prescription drug-related overdoses in the past ten years.

To help reduce the risks, state and federal authorities are aggressive in enforcing prescription drug laws. In general, the Georgia Code prohibits the possession or use of any medications without a valid prescription. This applies to commonly prescribed schedule III drugs such as oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and amphetamines, as well as schedule IV medications, including Xanax, Valium, Ambien, and other anti-anxiety or sleep aids. Penalties you could face as a result include:

  • Heavy fines and court costs;
  • Automatic suspension of any medical licenses you may possess;
  • Suspension of your driving privileges if you were behind the wheel at the time;
  • Mandatory attendance at drug education classes and treatment programs;
  • Being blacklisted from obtaining certain types of medications;
  • A jail sentence ranging from one to ten years.

These penalties become even more severe if you are arrested for manufacturing, selling, or trafficking in prescription medications or if you gave illegal medication to someone who overdosed.

Play it Safe With Prescription Medications

To protect yourself against serious criminal charges due to illegal pharmaceutical drugs, it is important to play it safe if you are prescribed any medications. Particularly with opioids and other potentially dangerous and addictive substances, you can still face serious penalties even if they were lawfully prescribed.

For example, prescription medication must be kept in the original container. Keeping loose pills in your car, handbag, pocket, or other places could result in a misdemeanor conviction, with fines of up to $1,000. Other precautions you need to take include:

  • Do not give your medication to others to take;
  • Avoid taking if you intend on driving;
  • Be aware of how your medication could impact you on your job and your rights to benefits in the event of work-related injuries;
  • Take your medications as prescribed and when you are done, dispose of them properly.

Request a Consultation With Our Atlanta Drug Crime Lawyers

Considering current rates of overdoses and other problems concerning prescription medications, state and federal authorities closely monitor their use. You could face serious criminal charges for having illegally obtained prescription drugs, giving them to others, or simply carrying them without the proper packaging.

If you or someone you love facing these types of charges, get the professional legal help you need at Ghanayem & Rayasam. Call or contact our Atlanta drug crime lawyers online today and request a consultation.