Prescription Drug Crimes
Oregon prescription drug crimes — when prescription use violates the law
On behalf of Steven Sherlag at Steven J. Sherlag, P.C.
It’s not unheard of for prescription drug use to get out of hand. When you are suffering from a serious medical condition, the right pills can manage a great deal of pain, suffering and discomfort; when the medical condition begins to improve, it is not always easy to stop taking the pills you have come to depend on.
But when does prescription drug use cross the line? Under Oregon and federal law, you can be found guilty of a drug crime by misusing or overusing prescription medication; and drivers of motor vehicles need to be aware that even if you are within your prescription, you may find yourself charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) and subject to a blood draw and an evaluation by an officer trained as a Drug Recognition Expert.
Sharing prescription painkillers, taking pills not prescribed to you illegal
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription opioids are the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States. An October 2012 report released by Oregon’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program found that between Oct. 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012, more than 600,000 people across the state filled a prescription for an opioid drug.
Of course, most prescription opioid use in Oregon is perfectly legal, a means to treat legitimate health complaints. Yet, the laws surrounding prescription use are not always clear; even seemingly innocent use of prescription medications can land you in trouble with the law.
Taking a pill that was prescribed to someone else is against the law. It is also illegal to give prescription pills to someone else without the written prescription of a doctor. In some jurisdictions, even possessing your own prescription pills is illegal if they are not in their labeled prescription bottle.
Even if you have a prescription from a doctor, it does not mean that your pill use is always legal. For example, some drugs are only legal to use for a limited amount of time after the prescription date. In addition, it is illegal for a doctor to write a prescription for too many pills, knowing that the amount is far too much for a single patient.
As mentioned above, drivers of motor vehicles need to be aware that even if you are within your prescription, you may find yourself charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) and subject to a blood draw and an evaluation by an officer trained as a Drug Recognition Expert. This is very serious under Oregon law as a DUII conviction carries not less than a one-year ODL suspension, but if an accident is involved and someone is injured, could implicate you in a Measure 11 offense for which you could be sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Fight prescription drug charges with the help of an Oregon criminal defense attorney
It is relatively easy to become addicted to painkillers and other types of prescription medication. If you’ve become dependent on prescription pills, you need treatment, not jail time. However, law enforcement authorities may not always agree.
If you have been accused of a prescription drug crime, a strong legal defense is essential. Getting better is a matter of seeking the help you need, which can be a challenge when facing judicially imposed sanctions. Fortunately, you’ll have the opportunity to stage a defense against prescription drug abuse charges. Get in touch with an Oregon criminal defense attorney today to explore your strategic options.