“Pill mill” accusations may be more serious than you realize

On Behalf of | May 13, 2019 | Firm News

A doctor who gets accused of running a “pill mill” scheme is usually someone who prescribes medications that patients do not really need for medical purposes.

For instance, someone may come in after an injury to get prescription painkillers. They could then get hooked on those painkillers while taking them legally. After they get addicted, they could keep coming to the doctor and asking for more, which the doctor gives them even long after the patient no longer needs them. In some cases, they also overprescribe the medications so that patients can take more than they need or so they can sell them to a third party.

It’s easy, in some cases, to think of this as a relatively victimless crime. People want access to drugs for personal, recreational use, and they figure out how to get them. The doctor provides access, but it all happens in an efficient manner that doesn’t seem to put anyone at risk.

Looking at it this way makes the accusations seem relatively minor, but the reality is that they can become incredibly serious. In recent years, in the midst of what many refer to as an opiate epidemic, the authorities have started cracking down. Some landmark cases have opened the doors for serious, life-changing legal ramifications.

30 years to life

For instance, one young college student bought oxycodone and Xanax from a doctor, driving hundreds of miles to pick them up. He then mixed those medications with alcohol. He overdosed and passed away.

While it is easy to assume that people who take medications improperly should be responsible for their own actions, no matter how they got the medications, the doctor who sold the pills to the college student actually wound up facing second-degree murder charges. The court convicted her and gave her 30 years to life.

Experts call this a landmark case because no other doctor had ever gotten murder charges simply for overprescribing painkillers and other medications. This case specifically made it clear how the court and the public viewed these alleged pill mills, and the case raises a lot of questions about how juries are going to act in the future.

Your rights

If you are facing allegations of running a pill mill or selling prescription medications illegally in New York, it is important to understand just how serious these cases can get. It may go beyond anything you ever imagined and even far beyond what you feel is a fair and just outcome. When facing these types of charges, it is crucial that you understand all of the legal defense options you have.