When someone imagines a drug user, they usually imagine a haggard individual addicted to illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. However, the truth is that much of the drug abuse in the United States is committed by everyday people using substances which were prescribed by a doctor. Many people incorrectly assume that consuming, buying, selling, or possessing prescription drugs which they do not have a prescription for is “no big deal.” However, prescription drug laws in Illinois are stiff, and those caught breaking these laws can face significant criminal consequences.
Illinois Lawmakers Respond to Prescription Drug Abuse
In 2013, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that prescription drug overdoses had increased an astounding 400 percent for women and 265 percent for men. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that this trend of increased prescription drug abuse is continuing. As a response to those who misuse prescription medication, the Illinois government implemented the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program. Beginning January 1 of this year, prescribers such as doctors and nurses are required to access patient information in the Prescription Monitoring program before writing an initial prescription for a Schedule II narcotic. This includes opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and morphine.
According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes (720 ILCS 570/5), knowingly manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture or transport a controlled substance is against the law and can result in punitive consequences. Drugs are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as one of five schedules: Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous and include heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy. Prescription drugs are usually considered Schedules 2-4 drugs.
Possession of prescription drugs without a prescription is a Class 4 Felony punishable by between 1-3 in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. It is important to note that a person does not have to be using or have consumed the drugs in order to be charged with possession. Even if you are just carrying the prescription medication for another person who does have a prescription, you are still breaking the law. The best way to avoid prescription drug charges is to keep your medications in their original container which has your name and prescriber information on it, never share medication, and never carry others’ prescription drugs.
Fighting Prescription Drug Criminal Charges
If you have been charged with possession, control, or attempted delivery of a controlled substance, you need an attorney who will fight for your freedom. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today by calling (815) 740-4025. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced Will County drug crimes defense lawyer today.