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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerPharmacists help people every day, providing the necessary medication that helps patients with their illnesses and injuries. Few pharmacists expect to receive a target letter or a federal subpoena and when they do, it is easy to imagine the worst-case scenarios. While pharmacists are often the target of prescription drug fraud investigations, it is important not to panic. There are defenses available for these cases and ways you can protect yourself.

Becoming Involved in the Government’s Investigation

Once you learn that you are under federal investigation, it is easy to want to wait it out, hope for the best, and see what happens. This is a big mistake. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are overzealous in their investigations and they cannot go unchecked. A lawyer can ensure that the investigation is being conducted in accordance with the law and that you do not provide more to the investigators than you are legally obligated to.

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIn 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government’s war on opioids. Ever since, no healthcare agency or provider has been immune from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) investigations. For nearly two years, the DEA has been aggressively investigating physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals for drug diversion.

Due to this, it is important healthcare providers understand the initial signs that could indicate they are under investigation, so they can take the necessary steps to address the problem quickly. The process you can expect if you are under investigation are below.

Patient File Audit

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Posted by on in drug crimes
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 LLC, 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

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Illionois defense attorney, Illinois federal crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyerAddiction has always been a factor in many cases in the criminal justice system. Approximately 65 percent of those in jail are known to have a substance use disorder.

However, the opioid epidemic has created higher stakes due to the dangerousness of the drug and the potential for relapse once someone is no longer incarcerated. A new study shows just how many people addicted to opioids end up with drug charges or unrelated criminal charges.

About the Opioid Epidemic

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Posted by on in drug crimes

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer,Both Illinois and the federal government have laws prohibiting drug possession, distribution, and manufacture. Thus, any of these activities could be prosecuted by the state or federal authorities.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, how is it decided if you will be tried in state or federal court? Every case is different, but there are a variety of ways your case could end up in the federal system.

There are a variety of factors that could determine the state or federal issue:

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