People often rely on prescriptions drugs to treat pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health disorders and other health conditions. In Texas, having prescription drugs in your possession is perfectly legal when they are issued by a doctor or other healthcare professional and picked up at a pharmacy.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, the categories of prescription drugs include opioids/narcotics/pain relievers, depressants and stimulants. These drugs are often abused when taken in tablet form or crushed into a powder. The Justice Dept. cites data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which states that roughly 36 million Americans as young as 12-years-old have abused prescription drugs. Prescription drugs are most commonly abused by teenagers and young adults.
Is it illegal to abuse prescription drugs?
According to the Justice Dept., it is illegal to abuse prescription drugs and possess them without a prescription from a doctor.
Prescription drugs are illegally obtained when:
- Stolen from pharmacies
- Stolen from family members or other people with legitimate prescriptions
- Medical professionals sell fraudulent prescriptions
- Abusers obtain drugs through "doctor shopping" (visiting several doctors to get multiple prescriptions)
- People with legitimate prescriptions sell or give away their drugs
What are the penalties for illegal possession of prescription drugs?
Penalties for illegal possession of prescription drugs may vary depending on the type of drug and the amount in possession.
Under Chapter 481 of Texas Health and Safety Code, illegal possession of any drug that falls under penalty group 1 (opiates) can result in the following penalties:
- A state jail felony for less than 1 gram. This carries a jail sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A third-degree felony for 1- less than 4 grams. This carries up to 10 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A second-degree felony for 4- less than 200 grams. This carries up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A first-degree felony for 200- less than 400 grams. This carries up to 99 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A first-degree felony for 400 grams or more. This carries a minimum of 10 years (up to 99 years) incarceration and a fine of up to $100,000.
How can a defense attorney help me fight drug possession charges?
Prescription drug laws and regulations aren't always clear as day, leaving some people unaware that they may be in illegal possession of prescription drugs. It is critical that you consult with a Texas criminal defense attorney if you're facing illegal prescription drug charges.
At the Webb Firm, P.C., we know that every prescription drug case is different. We won't take a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to devising a legal defense. Our team will investigate your arrest and the charges brought against you. We will work tirelessly to help you fight the charges.
To schedule your free and confidential case consultation, contact us online or call our Conroe office at (936) 647-3352.