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What you should know about prescription drug charges

You are a law-abiding citizen. You don't steal. You don't cheat. You barely push the boundaries of speed limits while driving. In short, you know that criminal charges are serious. Particularly, those that involve drug allegations, which is why you also don't do drugs.

What many people in your situation often fail to realize is that even legal prescription drugs can lead to big problems that could alter their lives for many years to come. You don't have to sell drugs and other illegal substances to be charged with a drug crime. Prescription drugs have people facing sticky situations far more often than you think. 

If you use prescription medication, you should be aware of the criminal laws involving prescription medication. Here are a few situations that could lead to trouble:

  • Driving while impaired by drugs: Driving under the influence applies to alcohol and drug impairment. The side effects of some medications can impair your ability to drive and lead law enforcement personnel to become suspicious. If you suffer from side effects of medication, such as drowsiness, you should not operate a vehicle. If you are not aware of the side effects, you should read the prescription label and consult your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Possessing or using another's prescription: Prescription medications have a name on them. If it isn't yours, you could get in trouble for possession of a prescription drug. It might seem innocent, but if you get hurt and your friend gives you some of their old Vicodin, you could be charged. If you are stressed at work, and a co-worker gives you some of his or her Xanax, you could be charged. If you are tired, your friend shouldn't share their Ambien with you.
  • Storing prescriptions in the wrong container: Some people store their medications in different containers than the ones they came in. It is unlawful to keep medications in containers other than those in which they came from the medical care providers. However, many people keep their drugs in pill containers and their pockets because it is often easier for them to remember to take them that way. Users should be mindful of the risks they take by not keeping their medications in their proper containers.

Prescription medications are necessary to treat illnesses and injuries from minor to severe. Proper care, possession and disposal of your prescription medications can help you avoid trouble.

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