Prescribing Drugs to an Addict
Substance abuse and drug addiction have been a constant part of society, but it has lately seen a rise with the opioid epidemic in the northeastern US. Many have chronicled the damage substance abuse can have on the addict, their friends and families, and communities at large. Dealing with drug addiction is a serious and complicated matter, and some issues can even have criminal consequences. This article will focus on the legal ramifications of prescribing a controlled substance to a drug addict.
The California Health and Safety Code 11156 HS delineates that a person can be charged with committing a crime if it is found they have prescribed, dispensed, or administered a controlled substance to someone who is an addict. Addiction is a difficult road, but it will become even more difficult if someone readily supplies the substance that caused the problem. This Health and Safety Code applies to everyone. This means that even healthcare professionals can be found guilty. For example, if a doctor knows the person is an addict, they cannot write them a prescription for a controlled substance.
How should the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, friend, or whoever, know that the person receiving the controlled substance is an addict? Said individual is usually defined as having a compulsive or impaired use of a drug over a continuous-time. The law has exceptions, with those requiring controlled substances for pain or other medical issues being able to receive them. What happens if the defendant is found guilty? They can face either a misdemeanor or felony conviction, with a felony requiring up to three years in jail as well as fines.