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Prescription Fraud

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Prescription Fraud

A prescription drug is medication that cannot be legally purchased or possessed without a valid prescription from an authorized medical professional. For example, doctors and dentists can write valid prescriptions to patients. Due to the difficulty of obtaining prescription drugs legally, there is a sizable black market for people who sell prescription drugs that they have obtained illegally such as through pill mills.

What Is Prescription Fraud?

Prescription fraud occurs when an individual illegally acquires prescription drugs for either profit or personal use.

How Does Prescription Fraud Happen?

Obtaining prescriptions for illegal profit or use can happen in many ways such as:

  • Visiting multiple doctors to obtain more than one prescription for the same ailment
  • Forging a prescription

What Are the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

Frequently abused prescription drugs connected to prescription fraud are:

  • Oxycodone
  • Diazepam
  • Hydrocodone
  • Alprazolam
  • Lorcet
  • Dilaudid
  • Percocet
  • Soma
  • Darvocet
  • Morphine
  • Adderall

Is Prescription Fraud a Criminal Offense?

Yes. It is illegal for anyone to obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance such as a prescription drug by using any type of fraud.

What Makes Obtaining a Prescription Fraudulent?

Criminal fraud is any act where a person intends to deceive someone via a false representation of a fact. That fact is relied upon by the individual to her legal detriment. By making a false representation such as forging a valid prescription, a person is committing fraud. For example, a doctor may be lead to believe the patient really needs pain medication when she just wants the prescription to sell to others.

What If I Do Not Intend to Sell the Prescription?

It is still fraud, and thus illegal, even if you intend to use the drugs yourself and have no desire to sell them. Many people commit prescription fraud because they are addicted to the medication and cannot obtain a prescription for them from a doctor.

What Are Some Prescription Fraud Defenses?

A prescription drug defense depends on the circumstances of the case. However, some general defenses include:

  • Lack of Intent: Prescription fraud requires intent to make a misrepresentation of fact. A person who does not intend make a misrepresentation of fact is not guilty of fraud.
  • Unwitting Possession: A defendant can claim that they did not know they were in possession of a prescription or drug.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help with Prescription Fraud?

Prescription fraud is a serious crime that has severe consequences. If you are facing a prescription fraud charge, you should contact a criminal lawyer to understand more about the charge and defenses that may be available to you. 

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 08-22-2016 02:18 PM PDT

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