Do I need a Drug Defense Attorney if I had a prescription? Well ask yourself this: Did you get arrested while in possession of your prescription? Did you have your medication in the bottle it was originally dispensed? Is the dosage you have in your possession the dosage to which you have been prescribed? Did you get your prescription from a reputable physician? Did a narcotics detective contact you about your prescription? These are just a few questions that could arise just by having a prescription drug in your possession. Being in possession of a controlled substance, even if you have a prescription, can raise legal issues. Just because you had a prescription for a controlled substance doesn’t always mean you have the legal right to possess it. Seeking the help of a Drug Defense Attorney in the State of Tennessee can help if you have been charged with a prescription drug offense.
Prescription Drug Offenses in the State of Tennessee
If you are found in possession of a prescription drug you could be arrested and charged with simple possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance. Depending on the amount in your possession, you could also face charges of felony possession, trafficking, distribution or sale of a controlled substance. If you have a prescription, but the medication in your possession is a different dosage that you were prescribed, that could be considered illegal possession. Not having your medication in the proper dispensing container could also bring into question whether or not the prescription was obtained by legal means. In other words, did you receive your medication from a pharmacy legally authorized to distribute the controlled substance? Was that medicine prescribed by a healthcare provider authorized to prescribed a controlled substance? People frequently transfer a few pills into a smaller container when they don’t want to carry around the larger prescription bottle; however, when a law enforcement officer sees prescription medication without the prescription bottle it looks suspicious and may result in an arrest.
Controlled Substance Database
The State of Tennessee is experiencing a prescription drug addiction crisis. For this and other reasons, all physicians, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies in the State of Tennessee are required to register their license to prescribe/distribute controlled substances in a State monitored database. This database monitors the physician and the patients to which the medication is prescribed. Data originally began in 2006. However, with the new cases of opioid and other prescription drug dependencies the State of Tennessee decided to amend the 2012 Prescription Safety Act with Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 53, Chapter 1 O; Title 63, Chapter 1; Chapter 791 of the Public Acts of 2014 and Chapter 880 of the Public Acts of 2012, relative to substance abuse. This allows for red flags to appear if a patient has had several different prescriptions written by different prescribers within a certain period of time. Basically, this helps the State control fraudulent prescription use, distribution, and “Doctor Shopping”.
What is Doctor Shopping?
Doctor shopping is an illegal practice of a person visiting several different health practitioners in an attempt to receive prescriptions for controlled substances without the knowledge of the other prescribers. A violation of the law could result in criminal charges. Tennessee’s “doctor shopping law” is found in T.C.A. § 53-11-402(a)(6) which makes it unlawful:
“for a person to knowingly or intentionally deceive or fail to disclose to a physician, nurse practitioner, ancillary staff or other health care provider from whom the person obtains a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person has received either the same controlled substance or a prescription for the same controlled substance or a controlled substance of similar therapeutic use or a prescription for a controlled substance of similar therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous thirty (30) days.”
Pain Management Clinics are commonly referred to as “pill mills”. These pain management clinics are well known for prescribing pain medication in large quantities adding to the opioid crisis. According to TENN. CODE ANN. § 63-1-306(c) (eff. 2011). “every pain management clinic shall submit an application to the department [of health] . . . for a certificate to operate the clinic.” and TENN. CODE ANN. § 63-1-304 states “[e]ach board shall have the authority to inspect a pain management clinic which utilizes the services of a practitioner licensed by that board. During such inspections, the authorized representatives of the board may inspect all necessary documents and medical records to ensure compliance with this part and all other applicable laws and rules.” Keep in mind that while a physician may be charged for running a “pill mill,” the patients also frequently find themselves in the middle of the investigation, providing you with yet another reason to ensure you treat with a reputable physician.
If you have been charged with a prescription drug offense in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.