Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the U.S. Addiction continues to destroy lives on a daily basis. The National Study on Drug Use and Health reported that about 1 in 10 people struggle with some level of substance abuse. It’s also estimated that 54 million people in the U.S. have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.

When people think of drug addiction, cocaine and heroin may come to mind. However, those are not some of the most commonly misused prescription drugs. Adderall, tranquilizers, benzodiazepine and other painkillers top the charts.

Possessing prescription drugs without a prescription may seem harmless. But individuals can face serious charges when it comes to illegally obtaining these types of drugs.

North Carolina prescription drug crimes

Laws on prescription drug fraud varies from state to state. North Carolina defines “prescription” as a written order issued by a licensed physician. So, if the prescription drug is handed out without a direct written order from the physician, state law is violated. There are other ways you can be charged with prescription drug fraud, such as:

  • Dishonesty: You obtained the prescription drugs by being dishonest, using fraud or forgery.
  • Doctor shopping:Doctor shopping is a term that describes someone who hops from doctor to doctor, expressing the same symptoms to receive several prescriptions.
  • Distribution:You manufactured or distributed a controlled substance, whether that’s by using stolen or false information. This also counts if you take controlled substances from a workplace with plans to hand it out.

Penalties for illegal possession of prescription drugs

Regardless of the various situations listed above, illegal prescription drug possession has serious penalties. Fines and jail time depends on the type of drug and classification of the crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony.

Licensed practitioners can lose their jobs and patients risk the possibility of addiction. Prescription drug fraud is a crime that impacts everyone, and anyone can be charged, no matter what phase of life they are in. If you have been charged with prescription drug possession and/or distribution, it’s important to get help now.