How Are Prescription Drugs Cases Handled?

Interviewer: What about legal or prescription drug cases? Are those handled similarly?

John Reade: Yes. A person may be charged with possession of a narcotic prescription medication if they did not have a prescription for it or if the prescription expired. That is becoming a more and more common occurrence.

Interviewer: What common prescription medications have you seen that people allegedly abuse?

John Reade: Pain medication is probably one of the more common ones.

Interviewer: What if someone was pulled over and they had medication in the car but it did not belong to them? Let’s say it was their mother’s or grandmother’s. Could that person still be arrested and convicted?

John Reade: Potentially, yes, if the police officer believes that they knew it was in the car and that they used it. Once again, it is going back to the issue of the worst thing you could do in a case like that, is talk to the police officer and say, “Oh, yeah. I knew it was there. Yeah, I used some of my mother’s or grandmother’s medication,” for example, and then once again, giving the police officer consent to search without a warrant.

Interviewer: I’m pretty sure police officers hear that “it’s not mine” all the time but are there legitimate times that a particular drug may not be that individual’s. Is a strategy you take at that point just trying to prove that this medication did not belong to the individual? Is that how you typically build a case?

John Reade: In a scenario like that, it would be getting the mother’s or grandmother’s prescription showing that it was a medical prescription, and maybe getting an affidavit or a document from the grandmother or mother saying, for example, “He borrowed my car and I left my medication in the car and I forgot to take it out of the car.” There could be other reasons why it could be in the person’s car, and the owner didn’t know about it and/or the owner or driver of the car did not use any of the other person’s prescription medication.

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