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Carrying a Family Member's Prescription Pain Relievers Can have Unintended Consequences

Prescription pain relievers have become a new front in the war on drugs. As in all wars, there are innocent casualties.

In Tennessee, something as simple as carrying a family member's prescription can result in the stigma of a felony drug conviction.

A serious drug problem

Abuse of prescription drugs, and of opioid-based pain relievers in particular, has become a serious health problem. More than half of all-drug overdose deaths involve prescription drugs such as Percocet and Vicodin.

Unfortunately, overzealous enforcement of prescription drug laws has resulted in damaging criminal records for many people. You could face felony drug charges for something you didn't know was against the law. Here are some examples of prescription drug crimes:

  • Having in your possession a friend or family member's prescription pain reliever

  • Possessing your own prescription drug that is not in the container in which it was dispensed

  • Doctor shopping to obtain prescription drugs

  • Using a prescription drug of another person, even if that person obtained the drug legally

It is illegal to possess narcotic pain relievers and certain other drugs without a prescription. The consequences of a drug conviction include:

  • A criminal record that will make it harder to find a job or rent an apartment

  • Loss of eligibility for student loans

  • Loss of eligibility for many government programs

If you have been arrested for possessing a prescription pain reliever without a prescription, don't make any statements before talking to an experienced defense lawyer. You could make admissions that the state can use against you.

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