Serious penalties for criminal possession of prescription drugs

State and federal agencies have been cracking down on investigating drug crimes for decades. The so-called war on drugs has resulted in millions of arrests, charges and convictions for people accused of possessing, manufacturing or trafficking drugs from marijuana to heroin.

These same aggressive efforts have also been focused on people who may be selling or in possession of prescription drugs. Even though these medications may be legal, having them without a legitimate prescription can get a person into serious trouble.

Recently, for example, three people were arrested in connection with allegedly filling fraudulent prescriptions for a strong cough syrup in Maryland. Sources report that authorities received a tip of someone filling a fake prescription at a pharmacy. Eventually, detectives identified the man who was filling the prescription for promethazine-codeine, which is an ingredient commonly mixed with soda to make “purple drank.”

Authorities arrested the man and two other people after a brief chase and they were cited or charged with several offenses including fraud and possession of the prescription drug as well as marijuana and cocaine.

This case highlights how seriously authorities take suspected prescription drug crimes and how quickly the charges against a person can stack up.

People may not think it’s a big deal to have anxiety medication, painkillers or other types of legal drugs without a prescription. But law enforcement agencies take these cases very seriously and make use of their vast resources to investigate prescription drug crimes and pursue convictions.

However, any person facing prescription drug charges should remember that there are ways to defend against allegations and minimize potential penalties of a conviction. This could include challenging police and investigative procedures to seek dismissal of charges, taking the case to trial or negotiating a plea bargain. In any situation involving allegations of a drug crime, working with an attorney familiar with both state and federal laws can be essential.

Source: Southern Maryland Online, “Drug Arrests in St. Mary’s Co.,” Jan. 28, 2015

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