New Prescription Drug Monitoring Law Now in Effect
While illegal drugs have been a scourge on society for decades, more and more lawmakers are focusing on a different type of drug abuse: prescription drug abuse. In 2017, 18 million Americans admitted to misusing prescription drugs at least once in the previous year. In 2017, more than 17,000 Americans died from overdosing on prescription opioids.
Many people are addicted to opioids. The most popular ones include hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone and methadone. Many people live with pain from injuries and disease, and these drugs are strong pain relievers that help people feel better. It is easy to get addicted to them.
Once a person gets addicted, they may go to great lengths to get a hold of these drugs. They may engage in prescription drug crimes such as possession, trafficking, forgery and doctor shopping.
Maryland is hoping to reduce prescription drug crimes, possession and overdoses through new legislation. On October 1, HB 25 went into effect. This law made changes to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Instead of authorizing, it now requires the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to analyze data to look for abuse of certain drugs or any illegal activities or ethical issues by drug providers or dispensers. If any activity is found, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is required to provide education to the drug providers and dispensers.
Under this law, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is also authorized to provide prescription monitoring data to the Office of Controlled Substances Administration so it can investigate as needed. In fiscal year 2019, the program is expected to cost $323,600.
Categories of Drugs
There are five categories of drugs:
- Schedule I: Schedule drugs are the most serious drugs, as they have the highest potential for abuse. They include marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and LSD.
- Schedule II: Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and have a high risk of dependency. They are considered dangerous. They include prescription drugs such as Vicodin, methadone, oxycodone, Demerol, fentanyl, Adderall and Ritalin. They also include illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
- Schedule III: Schedule II drugs have a low to moderate risk of dependency. They include testosterone, Tylenol with codeine, anabolic steroids and ketamine.
- Schedule IV: These drugs have a low risk of abuse and dependency. They include Ambien, Tramadol, Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Darvon.
- Schedule V: Schedule V drugs have an even less risk of dependency. They consist of medications used for coughs, colds and diarrhea. They include Robitussin, Lyrica, Motofen and Lomotil.
Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Many people do not take prescription drug charges seriously, since these drugs are often prescribed by doctors and therefore considered less dangerous than heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs. However, illegally obtaining prescription drugs can lead to serious criminal charges that can haunt you for the rest of your life.
The Columbia prescription drug crimes lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. will investigate your case and build a strong defense. We can negotiate with prosecutors and argue your case to get the best result. To learn more, call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form.