Earlier this year, you fell off a ladder at work and seriously injured your back. You went to the doctor, who prescribed you an opiate to help you tolerate the pain. The drug worked well, but now you experience extreme pain anytime you don’t take it. Last weekend, you ran out of stock of the medication, and you weren’t able to get a doctor to re-prescribe it right away.
Fortunately, you still had the old prescription. You scanned it onto your computer, put your Photoshop skills to work, and pretty soon you had a legitimate-looking new prescription. It’s not a big deal, you figure. After all, a doctor prescribed you the medication the first time around—they probably would’ve prescribed it again.
The above scenario is just one example of prescription forgery—which is a growing problem in the United States. Patients who are dependent on prescription drugs may engage in this activity, but doctors also fall victim to this crime.
Whether you steal a doctor’s prescription pad, create or alter a prescription on the computer or pretend to be a medical professional over the phone, you’re breaking the law. Taking any action to alter an existing prescription or falsify a new one is a serious federal crime.
Prescription forgery is always a felony. For first-time offenders, it’s a class 4 felony, which can result in up to three years in prison and up to $100,000 fines. For subsequent offenses, it becomes a class 3 felony, and offenders can face up to five years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines. In addition, if you’re convicted of this crime as a medical professional, you’ll lose your medical license.
If you’re accused of prescription forgery, you have a lot riding on the outcome of your case. It’s critical that you consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in federal drug crimes as soon as possible.