Maryland is cracking down on abuse of prescription pain relievers. Unfortunately, overzealous enforcement can result in criminal charges for people who make innocent mistakes.
Simply carrying a friend's or family member's prescription can lead to a felony drug conviction.
Addiction to prescription pain relievers a serious health problem
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths involving opioid-based pain relievers have quadrupled since 1999. The most commonly prescribed drugs leading to overdose deaths include:
- Oxycodone (such as OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin)
In response, police have stepped up enforcement of laws controlling opioid drugs. Here are some examples of things that can result in you being charged with felony possession of a narcotic:
- Using pain relievers that a friend or family member gave you, even if they obtained the drug with a prescription
- Carrying the prescription of a friend or family member
- Carrying an expired prescription or carrying drugs in a container that does not contain your prescription information
- Seeing multiple doctors to refill a prescription
In Maryland, it is a felony to possess opioid pain relievers without a prescription. The consequences of a drug conviction include a criminal record that could:
- Make it harder to find a job
- Make it harder to get a loan
- Make you ineligible for student loans
- Make it harder to rent an apartment
If you have been arrested for possessing a prescription pain reliever, don't say anything or accept a plea agreement before you talk to a drug crimes defense lawyer. Pleading guilty to any drug charge can have lifelong repercussions.