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Is possessing prescription drugs without a prescription a crime?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Drug Crimes |

Some drugs are illegal to possess or use in any situation. Both Florida state laws and federal statutes include lists of prohibited or banned substances ranging from bath salts to heroin. People generally understand that anything they do with a prohibited drug could potentially lead to their prosecution.

There are those who misuse prescription medication in part because they think it is safer. People trust prescription medication more than they trust street drugs, and they also believe that it is easier to defend against accusations of breaking the law with a prescribed drug.

In reality, Florida actually has a reputation for being incredibly strict in its enforcement of controlled substances laws. Prescription drugs in Florida are controlled substances that can lead to prosecution if people possess them without a prescription or do something else that violates state statutes.

What does the law prohibit?

Florida law essentially makes it illegal to even possess a prescription drug without a valid recommendation from a licensed physician. People who get caught with medication prescribed and dispensed to another person can face prosecution simply for having the drugs. Similarly, those who fail drug tests and who admit to consuming controlled substances, such as narcotic pain relievers, could also face prosecution for using that drug without a prescription.

Even the act of acquiring a prescribed medication from someone other than a medical professional could lead to criminal charges. Someone who tries to acquire more medication than their doctor prescribed or who wants to continue taking a medication after their doctor no longer orders refills for them could potentially find someone who can supply their medication of choice on the unregulated market.

However, the act of purchasing the medication from an unlicensed individual and possessing it without a doctor’s recommendation and oversight is a crime. Certain medications, including benzodiazepines, pain relievers, muscle relaxants and stimulants have a stronger association with abuse and are more likely to lead to intense law enforcement scrutiny than other medications. People rarely abuse prescription antacids, for example.

Even if someone has a prescription, they could still potentially break the law by intentionally abusing the medication, possibly by taking a very high dose or intentionally mixing it with another substance, like alcohol. In general, prescription drugs are only legal to use when someone has a recommendation from a physician and uses the medication according to that doctor’s instructions.

Those who get arrested for a prescription drug offense in Florida could face serious penalties unless they defend appropriately against those charges. As such, understanding Florida’s drug laws can benefit those accused of breaking the law and worried about reducing the potential consequences they face.