In the vast world of prescription medications, illegal possession is on the rise. The increasing availability of stimulants, depressants and opiates has encouraged some to dream up creative ways of obtaining them, and certain individuals have come to view physicians as an easy source of supply.
Prescription drug abusers often come by their addiction quite by accident. Some have grown overly dependent on legitimately prescribed pain medications. Others begin with illegal pills obtained at first on the street. Regardless of how their addiction starts, many people eventually resort to prescription fraud to obtain the pills they’ve come to crave.
Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
The drugs most often involved in prescription fraud include opiates, stimulants and depressants. For legal purposes, Nevada places each of these drugs into one of the following schedules:
- Schedule I (NAC 453.510): Vicodin and other highly addictive hydrocodone-based analgesics.
- Schedule II (NAC 453.520): Such habit-forming drugs as OxyContin, Adderall, Dexedrine, Demerol and Ritalin.
- Schedule III (NAC 453.530): Vicodin, codeine, anabolic steroids and similar moderately dangerous drugs.
- Schedule IV (NAC 453.540): Xanax, Valium, Ambien and others with a relatively low potential for abuse.
- Schedule V (NAC 453.550): Robitussin AC, Lomotil and other least-addictive drugs.
The Many Faces of Prescription Fraud
Prescription fraud is a serious matter. If you should find yourself charged with this crime, you’ll need to understand exactly what such charges entail.
Methods of committing this crime can run the gamut. In an attempt to garner ever-increasing quantities of a particular drug, some resort to altering specified quantities on legitimate prescriptions or forging doctors’ signatures on stolen Rx pads. Still others print out fake prescriptions or masquerade as physicians while calling dispensaries over the phone. Nevertheless, one common method could be more prevalent than all the rest.
When a Single Doctor Isn’t Enough
Individuals for whom physicians ultimately refuse to renew prescriptions often take it upon themselves to visit different medical professionals in various locations, deliberately neglecting to mention that other doctors have already written the very prescription they seek. This is doctor shopping, and it counts among the most serious forms of fraud.
Prescription Fraud in the Medical Profession
Under Nevada law, doctors who recklessly and illegally prescribe controlled substances for no legitimate reason are equally guilty of prescription fraud. Such offenders will often:
- Prescribe unnecessarily.
- Write prescriptions outside the scope of their normal practice.
- Sell prescriptions for profit.
- Dispense controlled substances under the table.
Any doctor who behaves in this manner is at risk of facing criminal charges.
Prescription Fraud Penalties in Nevada
Nevada views prescription fraud as a felony. The precise category and penalties involved will vary according to three factors: the type of controlled substance involved, the schedule in which the drug is classified and the existence of a suspect’s prior convictions.
- Illegal possession of a Schedule V prescription drug is a Category E felony. While first offenders face a potential one- to four-year prison sentence, second and subsequent convictions will call for either a one-to-four year prison sentence, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
- The first or second conviction for illegal possession of a Schedule I, II, III or IV prescription drug is a Category E felony that calls for a one- to four-year prison sentence. A third or subsequent conviction, however, escalates the crime to a Category D felony along with a prison sentence of one to four years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
- Illegal dispensation of prescription drugs and doctor shopping are both Category C felonies whose penalties include either a one- to five-year prison sentence, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Fighting Your Prescription Fraud Charges
The charge of prescription fraud in Nevada is a serious matter and one that mandates the assistance of adequate legal representation. That’s why you need the criminal lawyers at Weiner Law Group. Call 702-202-0500 today, or fill out our contact form. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to negotiate a deferred sentencing or adjudication; achieve a sentencing alternative such as probation or substance abuse treatment; or even get the charges against you dismissed. Don’t try to go it alone. Prescription fraud is a serious crime. With Weiner Law Group, you can be sure of getting the help you need to deal with the charges against you and conclude your case in the most positive manner possible.