Prescription Drug Charges in Illinois

Illionois defense attorney, Illinois federal crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe vast majority of people who are prescribed drugs which have potentially harmful side effects are using them in the manner indicated by their doctor. However, some become addicted, or want to make money selling such drugs, and may turn to illegal means to obtain these substances, thinking the consequences will somehow be less severe because, in some instances, possession of such drugs is legal. It is possible to unlawfully possess prescription drugs and to go to jail because of it.

Strictly Regulated

The prescription of certain substances, even in legal scenarios, is highly regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Under the FDA’s regulatory scheme, drugs are divided into what are called schedules. The lower the schedule, the fewer appropriate medical uses a drug has, and the more stringent the protocols for dispensing it to legitimate patients. For example, Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV drug, with low (but still present) risk of dependence and/or addiction and noted genuine medical usages, while Adderall is classified as Schedule II because while it has some occasional use as a legitimate drug, its potential for abuse is high.

Because of these potentially addictive properties, drugs may be prescribed to those who have a true need for them – a person with a panic disorder may have a legitimate need for Xanax, or a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may benefit from Adderall. This does not mean that such drugs should be unregulated or available over the counter because those without a legitimate need for them might conceivably abuse them. In some cases, even those who do have a legitimate need for such drugs can abuse them. The societal problems caused by abuse of prescription drugs can be just as great as those caused by heroin or crack cocaine.

Substance Abuse Problems Can Be a Factor

While Illinois authorities can be quite strict in prosecuting prescription drug-related offenses, they will consider the possibility of a defendant’s having substance abuse problems, simply because many do. More so than with street drugs, those who are arrested for prescription drug offenses are more likely to be first-time offenders, and they are also likely to be older. Too many have found themselves in untenable positions, especially after the commencement of the so-called ‘war on opiates’ and made errors in judgment.

If someone is not held to have a substance abuse problem, the offense will generally be prosecuted similarly to any other drug charge. Hearings are usually held relatively quickly, within 120 to 180 days, with a fairly straightforward disposition. Depending on the specific charge, sentencing guidelines range from one to three years for a Class 4 felony to six to 30 years for a Class X felony, and both usually are accompanied by a hefty fine of up to $25,000. The state has a vested interest in clamping down on illegal drug use, and if no extenuating circumstances can be proven, the sentence will be harsh.

Seek Compassionate and Knowledgeable Legal Help

Prescription pill use has real consequences, but each individual case is different and should be argued as such. The experienced Chicago federal crimes attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney are experienced in such cases and are happy to attempt to work out an acceptable disposition for everyone who needs our help. Contact the office today to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

https://www.cato.org/blog/war-opioids-has-become-war-patients

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

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