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3 types of charges people may face due to prescription medication concerns

Prescription medication is legally accessible only via the formal recommendations of licensed medical professionals. Controlled substances ranging from pain relievers to psychiatric drugs may offer medical benefits when properly administered but also pose human health risks in some cases. Some medications are dangerous if people mix them with other drugs or alcohol. There are also medications that become physically addictive and therefore require careful control for the protection of the patient taking them.

New York has enacted numerous statutes restricting prescription medications for the protection of the public. Unfortunately, people can end up arrested due to actions that they may have thought were legal. The three scenarios below are among the most likely to lead to drug charges related to prescribed medication in New York.

Driving after taking medication

Quite a few different types of drugs can affect someone’s driving ability. Sleep medications, muscle relaxers and even cold medication can impair someone’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. New York law allows police officers to arrest people based on there their use of prescription medication before driving. There are no per se limits for prescription drugs, which means that simply having the medication in one’s bloodstream is enough to warrant prosecution regardless of whether someone felt like the medication impaired their ability or not.

Securing medication from laypeople

Doctors are subject to strict oversight regarding their prescribing practices. Especially when a patient requires opioid pain relievers, physicians are often less than generous about how many pills they recommend or how many refills of a prescription they provide. Those who have a prescription but no longer have any medication sometimes try to purchase the same medication on the unregulated market. Getting caught in the act of purchasing medication from an unregulated party or possessing more than a doctor recommended could lead to someone’s prosecution.

Transferring medication to others

Perhaps someone has leftover medication from when they broke their leg last year. When their child has to have oral surgery, they might offer their leftover medication as a temporary source of pain relief. People might give prescription medicine to a neighbor in need or sell it to their co-workers. Any transfer of prescription medication to another party could lead to criminal prosecution. Someone does not need to make money off of the transfer for the state to pursue charges.

Prescription drug offenses can lead to incarceration, fines and criminal penalties that may inspire long-term impacts on someone’s life. Understanding why prescribed medication could lead to prosecution may help people avoid charges or better respond to allegations that they broke the law.