Drug diversion is characterized as the abuse of prescription drugs in a way that is not intended. It also involves the illegal distribution of these drugs. This is because the drugs are diverted to the illegal market from the manufacturers or the prescribers. The Office of Diversion Control at the DEA is the team that is tasked with investigating these crimes. Drug diversion can occur at different stages of the supply process. Various parties are involved in the distribution. They range from pharmacies, wholesale distributors, and the manufacturer. Professionals who work in the healthcare industry including doctors and nurses can be charged with the offense if they participate in any way. Drug diversion is considered to be a very serious offense by the government. This is because it has been shown to result in overdoses, drug addiction, and in severe cases of death. There are different forms of drug diversion. Some of them occur more commonly than others.
Types of Drug Diversion
Intention to Sell
This is when an individual acquires prescription drugs legally and proceed to sell them. This is considered to be an offense because one has to be authorized by the government to sell these drugs. The law prohibits the possession of drugs for the purposes of selling them later on. It is legal to possess drugs that are prescribed lawfully, and it is a crime to sell them. You will be charged if you intend to sell the drugs to another person illegally even if the drugs were prescribed lawfully by the doctor. This is irrespective of the amount of drugs that were found in your possession.
It is prohibited to sell or transport any controlled substances even if no kind of large scale operation takes place. This includes the importation, transportation, administering, or selling of prescription drugs.
Illegal Online Pharmacies
The DEA looks into online pharmacies that are operating illegally on the Internet without licenses. These pharmacies are targeted by the DEA because they sell the drugs without getting prescriptions from the patients. They pretend to be legitimate but operate internationally so that they can avoid the licensing regulations that were set by the state.
Theft can occur at any stage of the distribution chain because the drug is moving from the manufacturer to the patient. Theft is the most prevalent form of drug diversion. It is considered to be a serious offense.
This applies to the providers of the prescription drugs. The providers could be prescribing large quantities of pills or writing unnecessary prescriptions. The DEA considers this to be evidence that they are selling the drugs in the illegal market. Theft of prescription pads also falls into this category. This is because one can use these pads to write prescriptions without the consultation of a doctor. One can also be charged for the unauthorized refilling of the prescription drugs. This is supposed to be done by a licensed physician who has reviewed the patient.
Illegal Use of Prescribed Drugs
It is a misdemeanor to use a controlled substance including prescription drugs that are obtained without a valid prescription. This includes prescription medications such as hydrocone, codeine, and morphine. It is also an offense to be under the influence of a controlled substance. Illegal use of these drugs includes using them in a manner that is different from the specifications in the prescription.
Penalties and Punishment for Drug Diversion
Drug diversion causes a lot of problems in society. The punishment is heavier compared to other forms of drug-related crimes. Reforms to health care initiatives have introduced severe measures that are intended to curb the rise of the crime. This includes any illegal activity that is related to the use or selling of prescription drugs and any false claims. Physicians who are found guilty of fraud will not receive payments from the state medicaid agencies. This is according to the Affordable Care Act. A provider is terminated in all other states in the country if they are prevented from getting access to any state health care program.
The Department of Health and Human Services has a team of law enforcement officials who are tasked with imposing sanctions and taking action on these providers. The punishment ranges from the suspension of the license to imprisonment. This depends on the nature of the offense. Drug diversion is considered to be a felony in most of the states in the country. This includes the use of forgery, deception, fraud, or misrepresentation to commit the crime. This means that the punishment will be a fine and a prison sentence. Possession with the intention of sale is a felony charge. The sentence will depend on the amount of drugs in possession.
Selling or transporting a controlled substance is a felony. The penalties involved with this crime go higher if you are found guilty of transporting the drugs across different jurisdictions. The charge could be up-scaled to a federal crime if you transport the drugs across states.It is the doctors, pharmacists, and medical personnel who will be charged in a prescription drug fraud case. This is because they have the most access to the drugs and are tasked with writing the prescriptions. It could result in suspension or the revocation of their certifications and licenses if a medical professional is convicted of the offense. The case could lead to a reprimand if it is light.
The law prohibits driving under the influence of controlled substances. This is a case where the drugs have impaired your ability to operate the vehicle. The punishment for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) depends on whether you are a first offender. You might get probation or will be ordered to do some community service. This is in place of serving jail time since it is your first conviction. You will be given jail term and pay steep fines depending on the severity of the offense if you have been charged multiple times. It is advisable to get the services of a lawyer as soon as you are charged with drug diversion.
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