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Charles T. Ganz

Medical prescriptions aren’t an excuse for abusing medications

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2019 | Firm News

Some people find it confusing that the phrase “controlled substances” refers to prescription medications you can obtain from a pharmacy and to illegal narcotics and other prohibited drugs. For example, most anti-anxiety medications are controlled substances, as are painkillers and even cholesterol medications.

Prescription drugs, with the exception of certain psychiatric medicines and painkillers, usually fall farther down on the schedule of controlled substances, in Schedules III-V. Schedule I substances, the most dangerous according to their position on the schedule, are on that list because the government believes they have no medical value and a high risk of addiction or abuse.

Marijuana is on the Schedule I list. Most narcotic painkillers are on the Schedule II list of controlled substances. Both can bring significant criminal consequences if you get caught using them inappropriately, even if you have a prescription or medical recommendation.

Your prescription is only valid if you comply with the instructions

Your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding how to use the medications they prescribe. Whether they want to limit how frequently you take the medication or keep you from mixing it with certain foods or other substances like alcohol or grapefruit juice, it is critical for your safety that you follow the instructions of your doctor.

From a legal standpoint, if you take the medication in a manner contrary to how your doctor prescribed it, you could also open yourself up to criminal consequences. Mixing prescribed medication with alcohol to create a recreational effect, for example, could easily lead to criminal charges. So could sharing medication with someone else, whether you’re giving it away or receiving it.

Getting arrested while in possession of someone else’s prescription medication, even if you have a prescription for the same substance, could also easily result in an arrest. You only have the right to possess the medication specifically prescribed to you and only if you use it in the manner instructed and store it securely.

Possession of a controlled substance can be a serious crime

In terms of drug offenses, possession is the least all of the offenses. However, that doesn’t mean that the potential penalties for possession aren’t serious. Incarceration, fines, the loss of your license and other penalties are all possible if law enforcement catch you illegally possessing a substance or possessing a substance that you are using contrary to the prescription of your doctor.

The exact consequences will vary depending on the schedule of the substance and the amount in your possession. That is why anyone facing allegations related to either medical marijuana or a prescribed medication should consult carefully with a Texas criminal defense attorney before taking any further action. While you may assume that your prescription or doctor’s recommendation is sufficient protection, in many cases, you could still be legally vulnerable.