Although prescription drugs can help treat ailments, some can be abused like illegal drugs. Prescription drug abuse may not sound as bad as abusing controlled substances, but drugs like Adderall, OxyContin, Ritalin and Valium can be just as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Abusing these medicines can also lead to health problems like irregular heartbeats, seizures and even death.
Prescription drug abuse is also alarmingly widespread. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that about 6.3 million Americans admitted to using prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
It’s tempting to “adjust” your doctor’s prescription to obtain more of a potentially addictive or dangerous drug. However, this is illegal under Tennessee law, and you could face penalties if you’re convicted of changing or creating a fake prescription to obtain prescription drugs.
The offense of altering or forging a prescription
Per Tennessee law, officials can charge you with forging or altering a prescription if you commit any of the following actions:
- Falsifying a prescription or increasing the prescribed quantity of a dangerous drug
- Producing a prescription with a fake or fictitious doctor’s signature
- Attempting to obtain a dangerous drug with a fake or altered prescription
- Attempting to obtain a dangerous drug through a fraudulent phone call
- Possessing a dangerous drug obtained through fraudulent means
If officials charge you for committing these actions, a conviction leads to a Class B misdemeanor. The conviction carries a maximum $2,000 fine and an imprisonment period of up to 180 days.
For a subsequent offense, a conviction leads to a Class A misdemeanor with harsher penalties. Punishments include a maximum fine of $4,000 and up to a year in jail.
Prescription drugs may be legal, but laws are in place to prevent their abuse. If you face charges for falsifying or altering a prescription, know that a conviction leads to a criminal record, on top of fines and jail time.