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Drug trafficking in prescription medications a new south florida problem

Posted on March 01, 2010 3:00 AM EST

South Florida is finally recognizing that the drug trafficking trade in prescription medications is a serious problem. State officials are trying to implement policy changes that will more effectively police prescription medications. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County have become a haven for those seeking to purchase and or traffic prescription medications. Last year, the governor approved legislation that will require an electronic drug monitoring program that will put time constraints on people refilling prescriptions for multiple painkillers. Oxycodone, Vicodin and Xanax use by unauthorized individuals is becoming more commonplace. Most people think of cocaine, heroine and marijuana when drug trafficking is mentioned. However, criminal defense lawyers are defending more and more people charged with oxycodone trafficking and the like.

According to the legislators dealing with the issue, the problem lies in a lack of regulation dealing with prescription medication. Individuals attempting to procure the prescription medications merely have to go to various doctors and describe the correct symptoms to obtain prescriptions for the highly addictive drugs. Another problem lies in the lack of regulation of pain clinics who are presently able to get their hands on as many prescription drugs that they desire. In the 1990's, Kentucky had the same problem that South Florida is facing today. The state implemented a prescription monitoring plan that cut off the oversupply to doctors. Presently, 38 states have implemented similar monitoring programs. Florida is the largest state that currently does not have a program in place. That is the reason why people from out-of-state travel to Miami and South Florida to procure the product.

On its face, it would appear that possession of Xanax or Vicodin is not that big a deal. Anyone caught in possession of these drugs can and will be charged by law enforcement for possession of a controlled substance. Possession of a controlled substance is a third degree felony punishable up to five years in prison. Jail sentences for first time offenders are not likely, however, anyone pleading guilty to this will have a felony criminal record and may have his or driver's license suspended for a period of two years. Anyone caught selling just one pill will be charged with sale of controlled substance. The charge of sale of a controlled substance is a second degree felony punishable up to fifteen years in prison. A more likely sentence would involve probation and community service hours. While those potential sentences appear light, trafficking in prescription medications carry much stiffer sentences.

Trafficking in oxycodone or Vicodin is treated the same under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines as heroine trafficking. Trafficking in these substances are first degree felonies punishable up to thirty years in prison. There are three levels of trafficking which carry 7, 15 and 25 year minimum mandatory sentences depending on the weight. Between 4 and 14 grams carries the 7 year sentence, between 14 and 28 grams carries a 15 year sentence, and over 28 grams carries a 25 year sentence. Bear in mind that mere possession of the drugs will amount to trafficking if the weight standards are met. It is irrelevant that a person gets caught buyer of selling the prescription medications. If you or a loved is arrested for any of these offenses contact a Miami drug trafficking defense lawyer to defend your case and protect your rights.

Prescription Drug Trade Flourishes; Drug Monitoring Program Stalled, The Ledger.com, March 1, 2010.
Categories: Drug Offenses