Prescription Drug Fraud

We use prescription drugs every day to enhance their health and wellness. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 48.9 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug a month. However, a large number of U.S citizens also use fraudulent means to obtain prescription drugs, especially opioids.

Prescription drug fraud can be committed in various ways. It’s common for offenders to fake a prescription or even steal one from another person. Some physicians even commit prescription drug fraud if they unlawfully distribute a prescription. No matter the circumstances, the consequences associated with prescription drug fraud are serious. You could face severe penalties including steep fines and possible prison time.

If you or someone you know has been charged with prescription drug fraud, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Houston Attorney for Prescription Drug Fraud

The opioid crisis has caused law enforcement to be on high alert for people committing prescription drug fraud. That is why you will need a sturdy defense to combat these charges. If you or someone you know is struggling with allegations of prescription drug fraud, it’s imperative you seek quality legal representation.

[firm] is a group of attorneys who excel at criminal defense. Our team have years of experience handling drug charges including prescription drug fraud. Contact us now at [phone] to discuss your case today. Our attorneys at [firm] represent people accused of crimes throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Pasadena, West University Place and Tomball.

Overview of Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas

What is Prescription Drug Fraud?

Prescription drug fraud involves using deceit or fraudulent means to obtain prescription drugs illegally. People commit prescription drug fraud in various ways. Some forge their prescriptions while others lie to their physician about their symptoms for more drugs. Texas Penal Code § 481.129 states a person commits prescription drug fraud if they:

  • Is a licensed dispenser and unlawfully distributes a Schedule I or II controlled substance;
  • Utilizes a revoked, fake, suspended or another person’s Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number to obtain a prescription drug;
  • Fake or forges a signature to get a prescription;
  • Uses another’s prescription to receive a prescription drug;
  • Receives or attempts to receive a controlled substance or an increased dose of a controlled substance by doing one or more of the following:
    • By means of deception, fraud, or misrepresentation;
    • Using a fraudulent prescription form; or
    • Receives a prescription drug by using a fraudulent oral prescription such as a prescription given over the phone
  • Add fraudulent or false information or omits any information from record, application, report or any other documents used to write a prescription;
  • Lies to obtain a prescription drug or an increased dose of a prescription drug from an authorized dispenser or physician;
  • Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver or manufacturers a counterfeit prescription;
  • Delivers or possesses a prescription for a controlled substance for anything other than a valid medical purpose while performing their duties as a medical professional

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U.S Drug Schedules

The penalties for prescription drug fraud rely heavily on what drug schedule they’re classified under. Drug schedules are simply a way for the government to organize controlled substance by their medicinal purpose and potential for addiction. These schedules can be found under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

Listed below is a drug schedule chart to determine the penalties of prescription drug fraud.

Drug Schedule: Description: Examples:
Schedule I Drugs under schedule I have little to no medical purpose with the highest potential for abuse. Heroin, peyote, ecstasy, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana, and methaqualone
Schedule II Controlled substances under this schedule have a high risk of addiction and can lead to physical dependence. Fentanyl, cocaine, oxycodone, Dexedrine, Adderall, Ritalin, methamphetamines (meth) and methadone.
Schedule III Drugs with a moderate and low potential of abuse can be found here. Some schedule III drugs can be used in medicine. Anabolic steroids, testosterone, Tylenol with codeine, and ketamine
Schedule IV Schedule IV substances have a low risk of chemical dependency and does have a place in medicine. Xanax, Darvon, Valium, Talwin, Ambien, Ativan, Darvocet, and Tramadol
Schedule V Drugs with a low potential for abuse are under this category. Most Schedule V drugs can be used for medicinal reasons. Motofen, Lyrica, Robitussin AC and Lomotil

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Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas

A conviction for prescription drug fraud can change your life. The majority of prescription drug fraud offenses are classified as a felony, meaning you could go to prison. The penalties for prescription drug fraud depend on the Schedule they are found under and the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Committing prescription drug fraud with a Schedule V drug is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $4,000

A prescription drug fraud offense involving a Schedule III or IV drug is a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

If the offense was committed to obtain a Schedule I or II substance, then the offender will face a second-degree felony. It’s also a second-degree felony to deliver a prescription form or a prescription for a Schedule II drug to another person.

The consequences for a second-degree felony are:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Delivering, manufacturing or possessing with intent to deliver a counterfeit prescription drug is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $4,000

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Additional Resources

Texas Drug Prescription Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Health and Safety Code to learn more about their laws for prescription fraud. Access the penalties, admissible defenses and other crimes related to prescription fraud.

Drug Schedules – Visit the official website of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to learn more about the United States Drug Schedules. Access the site to learn which drugs are under which schedules, facts about controlled substances and more.

Lawyer for Prescription Drug Fraud in Harris County

If you or someone you know has been charged with prescription drug fraud, it’s imperative you seek legal counsel. You will need an attorney whose experienced in drug offenses. Find that today by contacting the attorneys at [frim].

[firm] is a group of attorneys with a passion for criminal defense. Our team will formulate a strong defense plan for you by utilizing our extensive knowledge and resources. Call us now at [phone] to set up a consultation today. [firm] accepts clients throughout the Houston metroplex area including Uptown, Magnolia Park and River Oaks.

This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.


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