Despite popular belief, prescription drugs are not legal for everyone. They are only legal for the individual who holds the prescription, and only in the amounts that the doctor prescribes. If you distribute, abuse or use the drugs in any way but in the intended manner, you could face fines, jail time and a criminal conviction. 

According to FindLaw, many states do not have separate statues that specially address prescription drug crimes. Rather, most states try such violations as regular drug crimes. For this reason, it is important that you think twice about what you do with yours or another person’s prescription medications. 

Types of prescription drug crimes 

In order to understand the types of prescription drug crime charges, you need only to view the medication as an illicit drug. Just as with other illegal drugs, you can face charges for the illegitimate possession, distribution or use of a prescription medication. For instance, you may have a prescription for oxycontin, which is perfectly legal. However, when you sell or give a pill to your classmate, you are guilty of drug distribution. Likewise, if you accept a prescription medication from a friend — even for legitimate purposes, such as back pain or insomnia — you could face drug possession and use charges. 

States crack down on illicit prescription drug use  

Once upon a time, letting a friend take a Vicodin or Tramadol may have been nothing to bat an eye at, and even viewed as less criminal than buying marijuana on the street. Today, however, due to the influx in prescription drug addiction and overdose death rates, many states are taking a harsh stance against illegal prescription drug activity. For instance, in Florida a doctor received felony drug trafficking charges for overprescribing prescription medications. The courts sentenced another “pill mill king” to 20 years in prison for the prescription drug-related overdose of another man. Prescription drugs are dangerous, and the courts are beginning to treat them as such.