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Prescribing controlled substances to an addict is a criminal offense under California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC. Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue that can ruin the lives of those addicted to it. Those that are abusing these drugs entrust doctors and authorized health care professional to write the prescriptions for the drugs. A prosecutor must prove several factors to prove that a health care professional actually prescribed the prescription drugs to an addict in violation of the law, these factors include:
• The accused did in fact prescribe, administer or dispense a controlled substance to the individual
• AND the individual presented themselves as an addict to the health care professional
The definition of an addict is an individual who conducts themselves in such a way that their cravings are characterized with one or more of the following:
• Their control is impaired by the drug use
• Use of drug is compulsive
• Despite harming themselves, they continue to use the drug
Other related offenses include:
• The prescription of a controlled substance without a defined treatment – California Health & Safety Code Section 11154(a) PC
• The prescription of a controlled substance that does not have a legitimate purpose – California Health & Safety Code Section 11153 HSC
• Shopping doctors or committing prescription fraud – California Health & Safety Code Section 11173 HSC
When an individual sees a new doctor, the individual mentions the chronic pain they are suffering from and that they would like a Vicodin prescription. The individual mentions that his regular doctor will not prescribe it anymore as he believes the individual is now addicted to the drug. The new doctor writes the prescription despite the information that the individual provided from the regular physician. This doctor could be charged for violating the California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC.
Or, an individual sees a new doctor about a lot of back pain. The individual has a verifiable injury which the doctor can see. The individual mentions never having been on pain medication before so the doctor prescribes medication based on this information. The new doctor was unaware that the individual was actually a serious drug addict but would not be charged under the California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC because he was unaware of the individual’s real background with prescription drugs.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in helping health care professionals work through these charges. They will review the facts and come up with a defense that will provide a successful outcome.
Prescribing Controlled Substances Defense
If the health care professional was unaware that the individual they wrote the prescription for was in fact an addict, the health care professional cannot be found guilty of this charge.
This type of offense can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Prosecutors will take into consideration the health care professional’s criminal history, how many patients were included in the charge and how severe the crime was. If a felony conviction is reached, the health care professional can be looking at up to three years in jail. If found guilty of a misdemeanor, the health care professional will be looking at up to a year in jail.
Plus, the health care professional will lose their medical license and will be unable to continue to prescribe medications under the California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC.
Contact our attorneys if you are in need of representation from a prescribing controlled substances charge. Our attorneys will review your charge and seek to find the best possible outcome for your case.