Prescription Drug Crimes in Houston
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All too often people assume that prescription drugs are safer than illegal street drugs, but this couldn't be further from the truth. There is a very good reason why prescription drugs cannot be acquired without a valid prescription and under a doctor's direction: if prescription drugs are used improperly, they can be dangerous and even deadly. Despite what many people might think, abusing prescription drugs is no safer than abusing illegal street drugs.
What is prescription drug abuse?
Prescription drug abuse occurs when someone takes a medication in an inappropriate way, this can include taking the medication without a valid prescription, or taking it in a way other than how it was prescribed (e.g. too high of a dose, with alcohol, combined with other drugs etc.), or it can involve taking a medication in order to get "high." Prescription drug abuse can include taking a friend or family member's prescription to treat pain or taking it because you think it will help you study or otherwise perform better.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified prescription drug abuse as en epidemic. While there has been a marked decrease in some illegal drug use for drugs such as cocaine, according to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health (NSDUH), it shows that nearly one-third of people above the age of 12 who used drugs for the first time in 2009 first started by using a prescription drug non-medically.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most commonly abused prescription and over-the-counter drugs include Opioids (pain relievers such as OxyContin and Vicodin), central nervous system depressants (Xanax, Valium), and stimulants such as Concerta and Adderall. Some of the common street names for drugs in the opioid family include hillbilly heroin, oxy, OC, OxyContin, percs, happy pills and vikes. Some of the street names for depressants are known as barbs, reds, red birds, phennies, tooies, yellows, yellow jackets, candy, downers, sleeping pills and tranks. For stimulants, these are commonly referred to as bennies, roses, hearts, speed, uppers, and the smart drug among others.
Prescription drugs are abused in a variety of ways; some people take someone else's medication for their intended purposes; for example, to fall asleep or to relieve pain. While others take medications to get high, often times in larger doses than prescribed or by a different route of administration such as by crushing a pill and snorting the ingredients.
Using Prescription Drugs Illegally
In the state of Texas, only physicians (MD or DO), dentists, podiatrists or veterinarians are allowed to issue prescriptions. However, therapeutic optometrists, advanced practice nurses (APN), physician's assistance (PA), or pharmacists (RPh) may also issue prescriptions under the written protocol from a supervising physician. The average person who does not fit into any of these categories cannot lawfully sell or give away their prescription drugs unless he or she is a doctor or fits into one of the above categories. Prescription drugs are heavily regulated by state and federal drug laws, and law enforcement agencies are vigilant about cracking down on those who abuse or misuse prescription drugs. Common prescription drug crimes include:
- Illegally selling or obtaining Rx drugs
- Possessing prescription drugs illegally
- Distributing prescription drugs
- Forging a prescription
- Prescription fraud
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According to the recent data from the CDC, in 2009, illegal and legal drugs killed more than 40,000 people in the United States, and more than 100 people die from drug overdoses in the U.S. every day. What's more, nearly 3 out of 4 prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and Demerol. In 2008, there were nearly 15,000 deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses and there are 475,000 emergency room visits every year, a number that has doubled in the last 5 years. (Source: Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in America)
If you have been charged with selling, distributing, or trafficking, or otherwise obtaining prescription drugs by fraudulent means, then you are urged to contact a Houston drug crime lawyer, Mark Morasch. With
more than 17 years of experience including six years' experience as a former prosecutor, he was recognized as one of
Houston's Top Lawyers by H Texas Magazine, you can be rest assured that your case will be in highly capable hands.
Contact us to learn more about how to adequately fight your accusations and move forward.