Not all controlled substances are homemade concoctions; some of the most infamous schedule drugs also happen to be commonly prescribed medications. Things like alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), methylphenidate (Ritalin), morphine and oxycodone (OxyContin) are ripe for substance abuse much like their illegal counterparts.
A pharmacist can’t dispense drugs without a doctor’s prescription, much less medication that is also considered a controlled substance. It’s certainly possible to obtain the medication through a forged prescription, but it’s also very illegal to do so per Missouri law.
Fraudulently obtaining controlled substances is a crime
According to Missouri law, a person commits an offense if they knowingly obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance through fraud. This fraud can take many forms, including:
- Creating or having a forged prescription: Writing a counterfeit prescription or written order with fake instructions.
- False statements: Altering a legitimate prescription to request for a controlled substance.
- Pretending to be a drug manufacturer or healthcare provider: Falsely assuming the title of an authorized person.
- Switching or altering labels: If a prescription calls for a refill, the offender might try to switch or change the labels of a container filled with a controlled substance.
By law, fraudulently attempting to obtain a controlled substance is a Class E felony.
Penalties for prescription fraud
A conviction for prescription fraud can lead to up to four years of imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections and $10,000 in fines. However, the court hearing the case also has the discretion to imprison the convicted for a special term at a county jail for up to a year.
Prescription fraud may not be a violent offense, but as a drug-related crime, it carries harsh penalties. It’s important for anyone facing such severe charges to understand their rights before attending their hearing.