If you have been charged with prescription fraud, you want an experienced criminal attorney to represent you. You may face a possible fine and prison sentence if you’re convicted. A drug-related crime can also ruin your personal and professional standing, making it difficult to secure a loan, housing, or find a job.
Unfortunately, you may be perceived by others as guilty before your case even goes to court. The criminal justice system will not protect your rights. You need the trusted South Carolina criminal defense lawyers of Truslow & Truslow to work alongside you and build a persuasive case that offers the best chance of a positive result.
Our legal team is made up of experienced negotiators and skilled litigators. This means we may be able to negotiate a reduced charge with the prosecutor and will fight tenaciously to protect your rights in court. Call us today at (803) 590-6688 for a confidential consultation about your case.
The Prosecution Must Prove Fraud
To prosecute a fraud charge, the prosecutor must prove certain elements of the case.
- Committed the act: The prosecutor must prove sufficiently and beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender committed fraud.
- Intent: The offender must have willfully and purposely set out to commit fraud.
- Entrapment: If a government entity is involved in enticing the individual into committing prescription fraud, the charges may be dismissed.
- Fraud committed: The charge must qualify as prescription fraud under South Carolina or federal law.
Have You Been Charged With Prescription Drug Fraud?
If you or someone you love has been charged with prescription drug fraud, call the office of Truslow & Truslow today. It is imperative that you contact an experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney immediately.
City police and state and federal law enforcement may be involved in drug-related charges. You should not face an experienced prosecution team alone. We can advise you about your legal options, develop a strategy to protect your rights, and attempt to negotiate for a lesser charge or a dismissed case.
What Is Prescription Fraud?
Prescription drug fraud is linked to the opioid epidemic. In 2019, nearly one-third of all opioid deaths involved heroin, a street opioid. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 75 percent of people who were abusing opioids reported their first exposure was to a prescription drug. In 2020, 91,799 Americans died from a drug overdose, which is 31 percent higher than the number who died in 2019.
The rising number of Americans who are addicted to opioids and die from a drug overdose is one reason prescription fraud is taken so seriously.
Prescription fraud happens in a variety of ways. Charges can be brought against individuals who get medication through deceptive practices. In some cases, an individual may steal a doctor’s prescription pad and forge their own prescriptions.
Others get prescriptions from health care providers who are willing participants in unethical practices. In this case, both the healthcare provider and the recipient can be charged with prescription fraud charges. Individuals who misrepresent themselves to a pharmacist or a physician for the express purpose of getting a prescription may also be charged.
In some cases, individuals may doctor shop. This is a practice of seeing multiple physicians with the same complaint without telling each doctor about the other. Prescriptions are filled at multiple pharmacies to support a drug habit or to supply drugs to others.
A charge of prescription fraud may also be brought against a person who impersonates a healthcare provider. An offender may call the pharmacy when the doctor’s office is not open and leave their own phone number as the doctor’s office number for the pharmacy to confirm the prescription. Offenders may also alter a prescription that’s been legitimately provided by a physician. The most common type of alteration is to increase the number of pills dispensed by the pharmacy.
According to information from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the majority of prescription drug fraud is found in the southern states. Nearly 48 percent of all prescription drug fraud happens along the southern states from Texas to North Carolina. Drug-seeking behavior from individuals who are addicted accounts for the greatest number of prescription fraud cases.
Types of Controlled Substances
The penalty for prescription fraud is linked in part to the controlled substance involved in the fraud. There are a variety of types of controlled substances that fall into one of five schedules or categories. The drugs are placed into different categories based on their potential for abuse or dependency and accepted medical use.
- Schedule I: These drugs carry the most severe punishment under the law. They are highly addictive and are not used for treating standard medical conditions. These drugs include ecstasy, LSD, heroin, and Quaaludes. In South Carolina, marijuana is also on the list. While it is allowed in other states for medicinal use, South Carolina is one of only 13 states that does not allow medical use of cannabis. Unless and until the law changes in South Carolina, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug.
- Schedule II: These drugs have a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe physical or psychological dependence. However, there are some that are generally accepted for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions and are highly regulated. These medications include hydrocodone, Ritalin, Adderall, and morphine. Although cocaine is often considered a street drug, it has some limited use in ear, nose, and throat surgeries. It is also a Schedule II drug.
- Schedule III: These drugs have a moderate to low potential for dependence. The abuse potential is less than schedule I and II but more than
- Schedule IV. Examples include testosterone, ketamine, and Tylenol with codeine.
- Schedule IV: These are substances with a low potential for abuse and risk of dependence. Examples might include Ativan, Klonopin, Darvocet, and Xanax.
- Schedule V: These are substances that have the lowest potential for abuse and contain a limited number of narcotics. For example, cough preparations with less than 200 mg of codeine, Lyrica, Lomotil, and parepectolin.