As Memphis residents know, prescription drug abuse is common throughout the state and across the U.S. The government has been aggressively involved in drafting laws that attempt to thwart prescription drug abuse by imposing serious penalties on offenders. Therefore, health care providers should be aware of these laws so that they do not face drug charges or, if they do, they can adequately fight them.
Physicians have the obligation to know the federal and state laws that govern prescription drugs. Federal drug laws require prescriptions to be signed and dated by medical providers. Physicians should not sign blank prescription pads, as doing so is against the law. Controlled substances are also regulated by laws, as they can be prescribed for 90-days and their refills may be limited, particularly if the substance is highly addictive.
If a physician is found to be guilty of drug charges the penalties can be severe. A physician can lose his or her DEA license, which means they are no longer able to prescribe controlled substances. They can also face prison time and hefty fines in addition to losing or having suspended their state medical license. In addition to all of the legal consequences a physician can face, a ruined professional and personal reputation can result. Thus, those who face mere accusations may find their job prospects and personal relationships suffering.
Drug charges can be complicated, especially for those who are medical professionals. Physicians who are facing legal scrutiny may want to contact a legal professional who is skilled in criminal law in order to help tell their side of the story and ensure they put the best criminal defense forward.
Source: American Medical Association, "Fighting prescription drug abuse with federal and state law", Valarie Blake, May 2013.