What are Prescription Drugs?
Prescription medication, or prescription drugs, are any type of legal drug used to treat an illness that cannot be purchased over the counter. In other words, they must be prescribed by a doctor. Millions of Americans take these legal prescription drugs every day, for conditions as minor as an allergy or as serious as schizophrenia. These types of drugs can also be used to treat chronic illnesses such as lupus or MS or be prescribed for a short period of time, as when one is recovering from surgery and needs a painkiller. The one factor prescription drugs have in common is that they cannot legally be obtained without a doctor’s order.
What is Prescription Fraud?
Far too often, there are instances where a person is involved in what is known as prescription drug fraud. This occurs when someone attempts to obtain legal prescription drugs without a legal prescription. There are several different ways this could happen.
One way this happens is when a person illegally obtains a doctor’s prescription form or tablet and begins to write fake prescriptions for drugs. For example, a person may steal a doctor’s tablet from an office in Red Bank and then attempt to get the prescription filled in a pharmacy in Long Branch. The next time they write a fraudulent prescription on that tablet, they may use a pharmacy as far south as Point Pleasant Beach to make sure it is difficult to track the stolen prescriptions. In this manner, the person can have the fake prescription filled several times at different drugstores, thereby having more of the illegally obtained drug to take or sell.
Another way prescription drug fraud is often performed is when someone calls in a prescription to a pharmacy pretending to be a doctor. This does not occur as regularly anymore, since most doctors fill prescription requests online or via a tablet, rather than calling into a pharmacy. However, in some instances this type of drug fraud can still occur.
Steps have been taken by the medical profession to reduce the amount of prescription drug fraud occurrences. Most legal drugs that have addictive side effects or that are used to treat chronic pain or mental illness are prescribed with no refills. That means the patient would have to return to the doctor’s office in person in order to receive another supply of the needed medicine. However, in spite of this precaution, the crime of prescription fraud still does occur.
Interpreting the NJ Prescription Fraud Law (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-13)
New Jersey law expressly states that it is illegal for anyone to obtain any sort of controlled dangerous substance through fraudulent means. If a person acquires pills or any other form of CDS through deceptive means, that person can be charged with a crime. In order to be convicted of a prescription drug crime, it must be shown that you:
- Obtained the substance illegally;
- You used a form of misrepresentation to obtain the drug; and
- The drug you obtained illegally is listed as a CDS in the state of NJ.
If these things can be proven, you can be convicted of a third degree crime. You can face up to five years in jail, lose your driver’s license for six months and be required to pay fines up to $15,000.
Other Aspects of NJ Prescription Drug Fraud
- It is illegal to use a prescription drug refill number that is fake, not yours or suspended.
- It is illegal to change information or to withhold information from any legal document a doctor requires you to fill out before a prescription drug is given.
- It is illegal to create or otherwise disburse a stamp or any signature form that allows a person to make a counterfeit prescription for fraud.
Call Villani & DeLuca About Your Prescription Drug Fraud Charge
Serving the Ocean County and Monmouth County area, Villani & DeLuca is a law firm of experienced attorneys located in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. We are here to help you navigate any prescription drug fraud charges that you or a loved one may be facing. Call us today for your free initial consultation with a drug offense lawyer experienced in towns such as Toms River, Wall, Long Branch, Barnegat, Point Pleasant and Manalapan!