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.
Prescription Drug Categories
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.
Burnsville 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.
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.
If you are arrested for prescription drug charges in Minnesota, contact a drug defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for defense.