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Los Angeles Prescribing Controlled Substances to an Addict

Prescribing Controlled Substances: Understanding the Laws in California

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that has affected numerous individuals in California. Doctors and authorized health care professionals are expected to write prescriptions to help those who require medication to alleviate their pain. However, when these prescription drugs end up in the hands of addicts, it can lead to severe consequences that may ruin lives.

Prescribing controlled substances to an addict is deemed a criminal offense under California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC. To prove that a health care professional prescribed a prescription drug to an addict in violation of the law, a prosecutor must establish the following factors:

• The accused prescribed, administered, or dispensed the controlled substance to the individual.
• The individual represented themselves as an addict to the health care professional.

It is important to note that an addict is someone whose cravings are characterized by impaired control, compulsive drug use and continued consumption despite harm to themselves. There are several related offenses that come under the purview of California Health & Safety Code, such as the prescription of a controlled substance without a defined treatment, the prescription of a controlled substance that does not have a legitimate purpose, and shopping doctors or committing prescription fraud.

For example, when an individual sees a new doctor and requests a Vicodin, despite their regular doctor’s refusal, that new doctor can be charged for violating the California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC if they prescribe it. Similarly, if a patient sees a new doctor for chronic back pain and does not reveal their addiction history, then the doctor cannot be found guilty of this charge under California law.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in representing health care professionals charged under these laws. We review the facts and establish a successful defense strategy that seeks to find the possible outcome for our clients.

Prescribing Controlled Substances Defense

If the health care professional was not aware that the individual they wrote the prescription for was an addict, California law will not find them guilty of this charge.

Possible Penalties

Prescribing controlled substances is a serious offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When considering the severity of the crime, prosecutors take into account the health care professional’s criminal history, the number of patients included in the charge, and the level of harm caused.

If a felony conviction is reached, the health care professional may face up to three years in jail. If found guilty of a misdemeanor, the health care professional may face up to a year in jail. In both cases, the health care professional will lose their medical license, and they will not be able to continue prescribing medications under California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC.

In conclusion, it is essential for health care professionals to be aware of their legal obligations when it comes to prescribing controlled substances. At the same time, we need to recognize that addiction is a chronic disease and that blaming doctors alone for prescription drug misuse is far too simplistic. Contact our attorneys if you need legal representation in a prescribing controlled substances case. We are here to provide the guidance and support that you need to get through this challenging time.

Prescribing Controlled Substances – What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know

There has been a rise in prescription drug abuse across the US, and California is no exception. Doctors, pharmacists, and other licensed healthcare professionals play a crucial role in preventing the misuse of prescription drugs. In California, the state’s public health officials have implemented various laws and regulations governing drug prescribing and dispensing practices.

Prescribing controlled substances to an addict is a criminal offense under California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC. Understanding the laws regarding prescription medications is essential for healthcare professionals. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences that may include criminal charges and revocation of their professional license.

Factors that Prove a Health Care Professional is Guilty of Violation

Healthcare professionals are people whom patients trust to administer and manage their medication, including controlled substances. Under California law, the prosecutor has to prove the following elements to convict a healthcare professional for prescribing a controlled substance to an addict illegally:

• The defendant (health care professional) prescribed, administered, or dispensed a controlled substance
• The defendant knew, or was aware of all the circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe, that the individual (patient) was addicted to the controlled substance

What is Classified as an Addiction under California Law?

An addict is a person who exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

• Compulsive drug use
• Impaired behavioral control
• Use of the drug despite harm to themselves or others from the use

Other Related Offenses

There are other crimes that healthcare professionals may be charged with under California law. They include:

• Prescription of a controlled substance without a defined treatment – California Health & Safety Code Section 11154(a) PC
• 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

Understanding the Possible Penalties

Prescribing a controlled substance to an addict can either be a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on the severity of the case. The prosecution will consider these critical factors while determining the severity of the penalty:

• The number of people involved in the case
• The healthcare professional’s criminal history
• The level of harm caused to the addict and their loved ones

The sentences for a conviction range from one year to three years in prison for a misdemeanor or a felony, respectively. If convicted, the healthcare professional would lose their license to prescribe any medication under California Health & Safety Code Section 11156 HSC.

Our Commitment to Representing You

At our law firm, we take pride in our extensive experience in representing healthcare professionals confronting charges of prescribing controlled substances illegally. We meet with our clients to examine the facts and develop an appropriate defense strategy to obtain the possible outcome for them. If you are a healthcare professional charged with a violation, call us for legal representation. We are committed to providing compassionate, experienced, and dedicated legal services.


Prescribing controlled substances is a crucial responsibility that healthcare professionals must undertake with utmost care. Failure to adhere to the regulations governing prescribing practices can lead to revocation of the professional license, personal liability, and even criminal charges. It is critical to ensure that your prescription practices stay in line with the set legal requirements to avoid any likely challenges.


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