People who start using prohibited drugs like methamphetamine, marijuana or heroin typically understand that there are criminal consequences should they get caught while in possession of those drugs. However, there seems to be much more confusion about the legal status of prescription medications.
Doctors can legally recommend that people use controlled substances to treat a condition or manage difficult symptoms, like intense pain. Pharmacists have the lawful ability to dispense drugs to those with a valid prescription from a licensed physician. That may lead to people assuming that they won’t face any criminal repercussions for what they do with prescription medication in Texas.
However, many drug charges in Texas are the results of someone’s prescription drug use rather than prohibited substances.
There are limits on what someone can do with medication
Just because a doctor wrote a prescription does not mean that the patient can do whatever they would like with their medication. They have to take the medication according to the dosage and timing recommendations in the written instructions from their doctor. They also have to abide by any restrictions imposed, including not driving after taking the medication.
Some people get arrested for impaired driving offenses because they drive to work shortly after taking a medication that could affect their ability. While the prescription itself is legal to possess and use, it is not lawful for the person to drive after consuming it.
People typically cannot use someone else’s medication. Even transporting someone’s prescriptions in a vehicle could be enough to trigger drug charges in some cases. Giving away or selling unused medication to others could also lead to someone’s arrest for serious drug charges in Texas.
Prescription drug penalties can be just as harsh
Neither the police nor the criminal courts are likely to be more lenient toward people accused of crimes related to prescription drugs. If anything, the increase in prescription drug abuse and overdoses in recent years might mean that the state is harsher when handling these cases.
Even a few pills could be enough to trigger serious criminal consequences. Understanding the rules that limit someone’s lawful use in possession of a prescription drug could help that individual avoid criminal charges.