In addition to the recent FDA crackdown on prescription drugs, local law enforcement agencies are working aggressively to arrest and prosecute for crimes involving prescription medication. While law enforcement efforts may reduce illegal distribution and sale or prevent driving under the influence, millions of Americans who need prescription medication could be under attack. Recently, law enforcement agencies participated in “Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” another effort sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to curb prescription abuse. As aggressive efforts are made to challenge the use of prescription medication, users should be aware that they could face criminal liability and may need legal defense.
Unlike the use of illicit drugs, prescription drug users are using legally and in many cases, depend on the medications for pain relief and other treatment of other afflictions. Our Birmingham defense attorney is experienced with complex cases involving prescription drug crimes. If you have been pulled over and charged with driving under the influence, or you are facing a more complicated crime involving distribution, we have the experience to effectively protect your rights.
DEA agents in Alabama are focusing efforts to curb the number of people abusing prescription drugs. Recently, there were five locations in the tri-county area established for individuals with expired and unwanted medications to dispose of their old prescriptions. This was the seventh similar event since 2010 and is intended to stop the sale and distribution of illegal prescription medications. The events in Alabama last spring were highly successful, bringing in more than 6,000 pounds of unused prescription medications.
While this is a valiant effort to stop abuse, many legal prescription drug users may be in the line of fire. Nationwide, states are enacting harsher penalties to stop illegal prescription drug use and distribution. For many who depend on prescription medication, the aggressive tactics can become more than a headache. Those who have valid prescriptions could face aggressive criminal drug charges and face fines, jail and a lasting criminal record.
There are a number of circumstances that could leave a legal prescription user vulnerable to criminal prosecution. A driver could get pulled over and charged with driving under the influence. A teenager could steal a parents' medication. A doctor who wrote a legal prescription could be charged if a patient starts illegally distributing that medication. Remember that even though charges are severe, there are also innumerable defenses in these cases. DUI, distribution, illegal sale, and trafficking allegations can be challenged on a number of grounds.
Local, state and federal government agencies will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute prescription drug crimes, even when a user has a valid medial use. After an arrest, it is important to have a clear understanding of your rights and obligations. An experienced advocate can review the charges and evidence and challenge the case being presented against you.
While efforts to stop prescription drug abuse can be helpful in the community, it is important to remember not to target innocent users who may need prescription medication.