When people discuss criminal charges related to drugs, the focus is almost always on prohibited substances that the state and federal government both recognize as dangerous to the public, like MDMA, heroin and methamphetamine. However, Texas state prosecutors also have the authority to pursue criminal charges against those who make unlawful choices related to their prescription medications.
Prescribed drugs are subject to legal control just like banned substances are. The main difference is that people may not know how easy it is to break the law with a prescription drug, even though most people recognize that nearly anything they do with an illicit substance could lead to criminal prosecution. The following decisions related to prescription medications might, for example, lead to an arrest and criminal charges.
Driving after taking medication
A surprising assortment of different types of prescription medications can cause driving challenges. Most people understand that narcotic pain relievers and also muscle relaxants are dangerous to take before they drive. Fewer people recognize that medications ranging from anti-epilepsy drugs to certain types of psychiatric medications could also impair driving ability and possibly lead to someone’s prosecution.
Sharing or selling medication
Only the person with a valid prescription from their physician can legally possess and consume that drug. Although they may have paid for the insurance that purchase their medication or they paid out of pocket at the pharmacy, they do not have the right to do whatever they want with the medication. Even when someone knows another person who uses the same medication, it is illegal for someone to transfer their excess prescription medication to that person or anyone else they know. Such transfers with or without financial profit can lead to someone’s prosecution.
Abusing the medication
Although it can be a challenge for prosecutors to establish that someone did something inappropriate with prescription drugs, sometimes people leave a trail of evidence. They might talk via text message or on social media about how they use their medication inappropriately. They might even get caught in acts while doing something like insufflating a drug prescribed as an oral medication. If the state has evidence that someone intentionally abused a drug or used it in a manner contrary to what their doctor recommended, that could also warrant drug charges.
Learning about and complying with state restrictions on prescription medication can help people avoid criminal prosecution that could change the course of their lives.