There are many confusing nuances to criminal law regarding drug possession and use both in Georgia and across the country. Many people rightfully find the laws that currently exist to be confusing and hard to understand. This can lead to people making mistakes that have legal and criminal consequences.
One of the most common misperceptions is the idea that there are both legal and illegal drugs. People may mistakenly think, for example, that possession of prescription medications would be a less serious offense than possession of street drugs.
The truth is that the possession of prescription medications when you don't have a valid prescription, or intend to use them in a way contrary to their labeling or the instructions of the prescribing doctor, is still against the law.
Possessing medication without a valid prescription, buying it from someone not authorized to dispense controlled substances or using prescriptions in an abusive manner can result in criminal charges in Georgia.
People misuse a wide range of prescription medications
When it comes to prescription abuse, the most flagrant and well-known cases often relate to narcotic painkillers. Many people will abuse narcotic painkillers, which can be physically and mentally addictive substances. In recent years, the number of people struggling with addiction to opioid and opiate painkillers has reached epidemic proportions. There is significant demand for narcotic painkillers and a large number of people abusing them due to dependence issues.
However, narcotics are not the only prescription drugs that people routinely abuse or use in a manner contrary to the intended purpose. People may use drugs ranging from sedatives to stimulants for recreational purposes or in a misguided attempt to self-medicate.
Everything from ADHD medication to erectile dysfunction medication has a secondary market of people who want to use the drugs without a prescription for personal reasons. Anyone selling prescription drugs to others or purchasing and using someone else's prescription medication breaks the law and risks arrest, as well as criminal consequences.
Prescription drug violations can lead to significant consequences
Depending on the kind of medication, the amount of medication and the nature of the offense, penalties for prescription medications can be as harsh as those for prohibited substances like methamphetamine and marijuana. The higher the overall weight of the medication, the more serious the potential consequences.
The role of the person accused of an offense also matters. Simply possessing prescription medication without a valid prescription is a crime. Intentionally selling it to other people could carry even more serious consequences. Anyone facing criminal charges related to the abuse or sale of prescription drugs should take a very close look at the case against them and determine the best defense strategy.