Oklahoma is known as being one of the top states in meth manufacture and abuse. Although documentaries have shed light on the state’s meth problem, a bigger drug problem plagues the state. In 2011, Oklahoma ranked number one in prescription drug abuse in the nation. A 2012 report indicated that drug overdoses—at a rate of 2 per day—are the leading cause of accidental death in Oklahoma, surpassing even motor vehicle accidents. Of these drug overdose deaths, 80 percent—4 out of 5—are caused by common prescription drugs.
Just as the state has taken extreme measures to try to end meth manufacture and meth abuse in the state by harshly prosecuting these drug offenses, it is cracking down on prescription drug abuse as well. Even possession of a legal medication can lead to serious prison time if the defendant does not have a valid prescription, if he or she is found to be “doctor shopping” to get multiple prescriptions, or if he or she is distributing a drug that was legally prescribed.
Many people arrested for possession of prescription drugs are themselves victims. These individuals may have been legitimately prescribed powerful painkillers following an accident, surgery, or other injury. Because these painkillers, such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, can be highly addictive, otherwise law abiding people find themselves hooked on dangerous substances. When an addiction takes hold, these people often find themselves taking illegal measures to obtain the drug their body needs:
Illegally possessing a CDS, illegally prescribing or distributing a CDS, and the unauthorized sale of prescription drugs are typically felonies resulting in decades behind bars—even up to life in prison. You must obtain quality defense representation in order to have a chance of successfully fighting the charge. Schedule a free consultation with an Oklahoma drug crimes lawyer to understand the nature of your charge or charges and to begin exploring your options for defense.
Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs
Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) may be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the substance involved. If the prescription medication is a Schedule II drug, illegal possession is a felony on the first offense. Possession of a Schedule I substance is also a felony, but these substances do not have recognized medical purpose, and would therefore not be prescribed drugs.
Possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V drug or medication is a misdemeanor on the first offense, but a felony on subsequent offenses. Marijuana is a Schedule I substance, but it is included with lesser schedule drugs for the purpose of criminal prosecution. However, Oklahoma does not recognize medical marijuana, and if you are caught with marijuana in Oklahoma, even if you have a prescription recognized in another state, you will be prosecuted according to state law.
Prescription Drug Distribution Laws
While possession of a CDS may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor on the first offense, drug distribution is always a felony. Even when charged with a first offense of illegally distributing a drug or CDS, a defendant faces the possibility of life in prison. Other consequences may include the following
Certain circumstances of a drug distribution case can lead to enhanced penalties. For example, distribution of a CDS on or near school grounds can bring more serious consequences that drug distribution in general. Parents should be aware that a child who sells or shares his own ADHD medication—such as Adderall or Ritalin—or one who steals painkillers from a medicine cabinet to sell at school may face serious consequences, even when charged with a juvenile drug offense.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
In order to combat prescription drug abuse, prescription fraud, and illegal distribution of prescription drugs, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDD) oversees the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. This program, under the Oklahoma Anti-Drug Diversion Act, requires pharmacists and drug dispensers to report the sale or distribution of scheduled narcotics within five minutes of delivering the drug to a customer. Furthermore, as part of the PMP, the dispenser must check the Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry prior to dispensing any product that contains pseudoephedrine, a precursor substance used in manufacturing meth.
Commonly abused prescription and over-the-counter drugs include the following substances:
Being charged with a prescription drug crime—whether possession, distribution, or trafficking—can have a profound negative impact on your life. Finding a qualified attorney with a record of successfully defending clients in similar prescription drug cases can mean the difference between getting the help you need to overcome an addiction and spending decades in prison.
We are committed to protecting your rights and to helping you achieve a positive outcome to this difficult time in your life. Call today to schedule a risk-free, confidential evaluation of your case.