Is Sharing Prescription Drugs a Criminal Offense?

If you have been diagnosed with a certain medical condition and accordingly, given a daily prescription medication, and another of your friend also seems to be suffering from the same effects, then too, you should never share your prescription pills with him or her, however sympathetic you feel for your friend. For your information, this misguided act of sympathy could lead to criminal allegations.

The general conception of drugs involves substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, crack, or heroin but the world should emphasize more on the prescription drugs instead of on street narcotics as these are abused at greater rates.

The reports by the CDC claim that there has been an increase in the sales of the prescription drug in the United States since 1999. But this is due to the aggressive method of marketing on the part of the pharmaceutical industry, especially with respect to direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising (DTCPA). And in accordance to the recent profile of CDC about the Pennsylvania prescription drugs overdoses for 2010, the rate is a little higher than the national average rate. Moreover, close to 3 quarters of all prescription drug deaths in the U.S are due to opioids, which are prescribed pain-killers.

In an effort to curb overdose deaths, various laws strictly regulate the circulation and usage of prescription drugs in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. At the federal level, prescription drugs are governed by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S. Code § 301 et seq.). In particular, 21 U.S. Code § 829 governs the legality of prescription drug use based on the way such substances are scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA.

A number of stringent laws have been passed, regulating the circulation and the usage of prescription drugs in and around Pennsylvania and across the U.S in order to deal with these overdose deaths. Every drug is scheduled in accordance with 1. The acceptable medical usage of the drug, 2. The abuse or dependency potential of the drug. Lower the schedule number of the drug will be, the more stringent the violation penalties will be. We have gathered a few instances here. Take a look.

According to the 21 U.S. Code § 829 on the federal level-

Generally, drug crimes are prosecuted by the state, although there have been circumstances with respect to federal drug trafficking according to which it is possible to prosecute such cases on the federal level too. The prescription drug laws are consolidated under Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act 1972 in Pennsylvania. And prescription medications are particularly dealt with Section 11 of this Act.

The parts a, b, and c mentioned in Section 11 reflect the provisions of 21 U.S. Code § 829 about those who might dispense such prescribed medications, and how often, if at all, these can be consumed again. Moreover, Section 11(f) also includes the below-mentioned text to be printed on every medication’s label-

“Transfer of this drug to anyone other than the patient for whom it was prescribed is illegal.”

So, this puts forth better clarity that both the state and the federal laws put a ban on the sharing, sale, distribution, as well as illegal possession of prescription medications or drugs, and even if these were legal. If you find someone who got arrested for prescription drug charges in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you need to find an efficient, experienced, and skilled criminal attorney to be by your side at such tumultuous times. Get in touch with a Pittsburgh criminal lawyer today.

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