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When Prescription Drugs Actually Aren't Legal


The line between legal and illegal drugs seems very clear at first: Drugs like heroin and cocaine are illegal, while prescription drugs -- including heavy-duty painkillers -- are legal.

It's not that simple. When a prescription is written for a particular drug, that does make it legal, but only in a very specific situation. It's legal only for the person for whom the prescription was written and only in the amount prescribed.

Selling it to others -- or even giving it away for free -- can get you in trouble with the authorities. It doesn't matter that the drug was legally prescribed and obtained initially. It then becomes illegal when it changes hands.

Doctors can also get in trouble for the way that they give out these prescriptions. Offices that hand out an abundance are often referred to as "pill mills." People running these offices have been arrested for everything from drug trafficking to allowing fatal overdoses to take place.

Again, just because doctors are writing legal prescriptions does not mean that anything done with a prescription is legal. Doctors are obligated to follow drug laws and proper procedures, just like their patients.

This does mean that people sometimes face charges for things they didn't realize were illegal. Maybe you didn't need all of your painkillers while recovering from surgery, for example, so you sold them to a friend who needed them and didn't want to pay for a visit to the doctor's office. You thought the drugs were legal so there would be no problem, not realizing the law was still broken.

If something like this has happened and you want to know all about your legal defense options, please note that our website contains a lot of valuable information.