Possession of Prescription Drugs – Unofficial Guide for Doctors & Patients

In Florida, we have some of the most strict and punitive drug laws in the country. Many of these are focused on prescription pain killers like Hydrocodone, as well as both, benzodiazepines like Xanax and stimulant medications like Adderall. Some of the penalties are very severe, especially for opiate derivatives and may include minimum mandatory prison sentences under Florida’s overzealous and overbroad drug trafficking statute.

What is a Schedule II (C-II) Controlled Substance?

These are medications that can be legally prescribed by a doctor, but since they have a high potential for abuse with severe psychological or physical dependence, they are highly regulated by Federal and State Law. Therefore, unlawfully possessing a Schedule II Controlled Substance could result in a criminal arrest.

FOR PATIENTS:

As a criminal defense attorney, I have represented hundreds of clients in Okaloosa County & Walton County, charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance because they possessed prescription drugs in an improper or illegal manner. One of the most common mistakes I see people make is when they separate their pills from the prescription bottle and carry them loosely or in another type of container. These individuals, if searched by law enforcement, run the risk of being arrested and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance. You may tell the police officer, “I have a valid prescription!” And the officer will tell you, “If that is true, then your lawyer might be able to get the case dismissed. But for right now, I have to arrest you.”

Yes, I can get the case dismissed, but do you want to have to go through the process of getting arrested and humiliated? That is why I always advise clients to store their medications in the prescription bottle that the pills or medications were originally dispensed in. And if, for some reason, that is not possible, then always carry a printout copy of your prescription records from the pharmacy in your purse or wallet, and your personal vehicle as well.

Another consideration is to never offer controlled medications to another individual. Don’t offer a friend a painkiller. Don’t give your stressed-out buddy a Valium to make him or her feel better. If they are caught in possession of your prescription, they can be charged as well. In addition, do not ever agree to transport or hold another person’s medications for them. If you are in actual possession of a controlled substance, there is always the potential of being charged.

ADD/ADHD Medications are quickly becoming one of the most common Schedule II medications currently targeted by law enforcement in Okaloosa County. Part of the reason is because these medication are very readily prescribed to adults and children which increases their availability to be possessed and used by teenagers and young adults as both a study drug and a party drug. Some of these medications include: Adderall, Daytrana, Dextroamphetamine, Dextroamphetamine ER, Focalin XR, Metadate CD, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, and Vyvanse.

FOR DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PRACTICIONERS:

Most of the requirements for prescribing controlled substances are part of Federal Law, not specifically Florida State Law. While some states like New York, has adopted stricter guidelines for the dispensing of certain Schedule II medications, in Florida, it seems that if you adhere to the Code of Federal Regulations, you should be in compliance. However, it may be important to do further research and consult with local pharmacies in order to ensure that all prescriptions are maintained in accordance with State and Federal Law. Failure to adhere could result in the loss of your medical license, or worse, criminal charges.

Some basic practice guidelines and recommendations for prescribing Schedule II drugs include the following:

  1. A practitioner can write for up to a 90 day supply, but there may be certain limitations.
  2. Refills are NOT permitted.
  3. It is recommended that a practitioner include the issuance date as well as a DO NOT FILL UNTIL date on the prescription for any Schedule II controlled substance. The DO NOT FILL DATE indicates the earliest date on which a pharmacy may fill the prescription.
  4. Although a practitioner is not required to physically evaluate a patient prior to writing each prescription, it is recommended that the patient be seen often enough in order to reasonably maintain the appearance of an ongoing patient-practitioner relationship.

It is recommended that the practitioner regularly document in the patient’s medical file during each office visit: 1) The prescription is continues to be needed for a legitimate medical purpose to treat the patient’s diagnosed condition. 2) The patient is not at risk to abuse the prescription.

If you are being investigated by authorities, or have been arrested for illegal possession of prescription drugs, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation.