Your Own Valid Prescription Could Get You Arrested

Mistakes with a healthcare provider’s DEA number can result in a person getting arrested for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud while picking up a valid prescription from the pharmacy. Prescriptions for controlled substance drugs must be issued for legitimate medical purposes by a registered, licensed healthcare provider with a DEA number.

Controlled Substance Medications

Controlled substance drugs must be prescribed and filled under strict restrictions by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Federal law requires that healthcare providers maintain a DEA number when writing prescriptions for these types of drugs. DEA numbers are issued to all types of healthcare providers, as well as veterinarians, as a way to track controlled substances.

Prescription medications are broken down into two categories: non-controlled and controlled substances. Most prescriptions for infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and asthma are non-controlled. Controlled substance medications have the potential to cause physical and mental dependence. Common controlled prescriptions include Adderall; Codeine; Demerol; Fentanyl; Methodone; Morphine; Oxycodone; Hydrocodone; Ritalin; and various types of sleep medications, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant drugs.

Each day millions of prescriptions for controlled substance medications are filled by pharmacies. Physicians that prescribe these drugs have assigned DEA numbers used for tracking. A Dallas woman refilling her prescription for painkillers was arrested with a felony offense charge because the pharmacy incorrectly referenced the DEA number with the wrong doctor.

Controlled substance medications are categorized based on their potential for addiction and abuse:

  • Schedule II – These medications, including Adderall, Opioid painkillers, Percocet, Ritalin, and Vicodin, have a high potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose. Written prescriptions by a licensed physician are required. Prescriptions are often limited to a 30-day supply and cannot be refilled.
  • Schedule III – These medications have a lower potential for addiction and abuse, but may still lead to dependency. Medications include Tylenol with codeine and drugs used to treat opioid dependence. Refills are allowed, up to five refills within six months.
  • Schedule IV – These medications have a low potential for abuse relative to those listed in Schedule III. Medications include benzodiazepine anxiety medications like Klonopin and Xanax. Refills are allowed, up to five refills within six months.
  • Schedule V – According to the DEA, these medications have a low potential for dependency and abuse, since they contain limited amounts of certain drugs. Medications include prescription Robitussin AC and other cough medicines that contain codeine. Refills are not restricted.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.