Prescription pill possession is, in fact, a crime in New Jersey when the pills in question have been acquired or distributed unlawfully. Opioid-based painkillers and other highly addictive prescription medications can only be obtained from an authorized distributor (such as a pharmacy) with a doctor’s prescription. Prescription drugs are classified as CDS (Controlled Dangerous Substances) and should only be used by the person to whom they are prescribed.
Unfortunately, opioid addiction is a serious problem sweeping the nation, causing many without a previous drug abuse history to become addicted and resort to illegal ways to get their hands on the drugs. Others take part in manufacturing and distributing pills in an attempt to circumvent the law.
According to local news outlets, in 2018, the state of New Jersey reported that out of 2900 reported drug overdose deaths, over 90% of them (2583 cases) were due to opioid abuse. In March 2020, a major drug bust involved over 200 law enforcement officials and resulted in 23 people’s arrest. Besides heroin and cocaine, officials apprehended prescription Xanax and Oxycontin pills. Those involved are being charged with multiple offenses, including drug possession and distribution. In March 2020, the NJ State Police arrested four individuals accused of running a drug mill out of an apartment in Patterson, NJ. The group was manufacturing and selling opioid drugs, and these drugs were linked to 14 fatal overdoses.
It comes as no surprise that New Jersey imposes harsh penalties on individuals for illegal possession and distribution of prescription drugs. Not only are these dangerous substances for the users, often leading to fatal overdoses, but they also fuel crime and drug trafficking in the neighborhoods across the state.
Some of the criminal charges commonly related to prescription drug possession are:
- Prescription Drug Possession and Distribution: Penalties for having doses of prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you is unlawful. Giving them to someone else in exchange for money is considered distribution, and penalties vary depending on the amount of drugs in your possession – 5 or more doses results in a fourth-degree offense and up to 18 months in prison, plus $10,000.00 in fines. The punishment for 100 or more doses is 5 to 10 years in prison and up to $300,000.00 in fines. It is considered a second-degree crime.
- Prescription Fraud: Forging a false prescription or using someone else’s prescription to obtain drugs is a third-degree offense. Penalties include 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.00. Forging a prescription is considered a crime on its own, often combined with fraud and theft charges when the offender steals and fills out a prescription pad.
- Disorderly Person’s Offense: Being under the influence of a prescription drug that was not legally prescribed to you constitutes a disorderly person’s offense. If charged, an offender may have to pay a fine of up to $1000.00.
Suppose you have been accused of a prescription drug crime. In that case, there are many different defenses that our firm may be able to pursue in order to minimize penalties, downgrade your charges, or get them dismissed altogether.
Law Offices of Keith Hirschorn, P.C. can help clients across Hudson County understand their charges, answer questions, and address issues you may not even realize were important and provide you with criminal defense attorney. We will challenge every piece of evidence presented by the prosecution and fight for a better outcome for your case. Call us at 201-798-4024.