Minnesota law defines prescription drug abuse as the use of prescription medication in a way not intended by the doctor who prescribed the drug. Aside from marijuana, prescription drugs are the most abused controlled substance in the country. Below, we take a closer look at what constitutes prescription drug abuse, and how you can be charged if you use them improperly in Minnesota.
Prescription Drug Categories in Minnesota
Commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three categories:
- Opioids: such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine
- Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants: such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines
- Stimulants: such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate (Ritalin)
Prescription drug abuse is particularly problematic among teenagers, partly because prescription drugs are relatively easy to find. There are many ways people can get a hold of illicit prescription drugs, such as:
- Illegal online pharmacies
- Doctor shopping or other forms of fraudulent prescription
- Theft and burglary (from residences, pharmacies, hospitals, etc.)
- Receiving/purchasing from family or friends
- Overprescribing (negligent or even intentional overprescribing by physicians or pharmacists)
Sometimes prescription drugs are sold illegally on the internet. More often, however, teens receive these drugs for free from friends or family. At home, kids can easily find prescription painkillers leftover from a previous illness or operation. This offers them a free and easy way to get high. Many people even use cold medicines (e.g. Nyquil) to get high. These are completely legal and can be purchased at any drug store. If you ever suspect a friend or family member has taken drugs, you can learn more here about home drug test kits so you can test quickly and efficiently for drugs and do your best to support them.
Burnsville Prescription Drug Attorney
Minnesota, in addition to several other states, has a Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) that exists to keep tabs on illegal prescription drug trafficking. The PMP is essentially an agency that monitors doctors and pharmacies to ensure that no one is issuing un-prescribed or falsely prescribed medication.
Illegal prescription drug possession and abuse violations are usually fourth or fifth degree controlled substance charges. These carry maximum penalties of up to 15 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you are intending to sell the prescriptions drugs or you have a large amount in your possession, you can face stricter charges. You can also face prescription drug charges if you try to obtain them through illegal means, like by using fake credentials to get your hands on prescription medication. You can learn more about prescription drug penalties by following the link.
As you might imagine, prescription drug charges can have long-term repercussions for your personal and professional life, which is why it is so important to fight the charges head-on. The best way to do that is with an experienced prescription drug lawyer in your corner. Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm have helped countless individuals fight back with a strong defense against prescription drug charges, and he can do the same for you. For more information, or to set up a free case review, reach out to Avery at the team by calling (952) 224-2277.