South Florida Prescription Drug Addictions Continue to Fuel Crimes

Efforts by state and local officials to curb access to illegally-obtained prescription drugs in South Florida have made illicit pill sales a lucrative business for those willing to take the risk. prescriptiondrugcase.jpg

But as our Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers know, getting caught can come with a steep price. It is critical in these cases to secure an experienced defense team as soon as possible following your arrest.

Recently, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office reported a case out of Boynton Beach, where a married couple combined their efforts to swindle roughly 100 pain pills from two pharmacies. Now, both have been charged with trafficking in Oxycodone.

The investigation began back in September, when the 24-year-old woman called her pharmacy to request a refill on another pain medication. However, the pharmacist told her it was too soon for a refill, and that the doctor would have to approve it. The pharmacist then called the doctor – but the doctor had never heard of the woman. This lead police to get involved, as the prescription was suspected to be fraudulent.

Just a few weeks earlier, the woman’s husband had dropped of an Oxycodone prescription for his wife, which he picked up a short time later. In that case, the pharmacist called another doctor to verify the signature. As it turned out, that signature was reportedly fraudulent, as was a similar one dropped off and picked up that same day at another pharmacy.

Cases like this are not isolated in South Florida. Last month, a Lee County woman suspected in a fatal bicycle crash was later arrested by state authorities on charges of prescription fraud in Deerfield Beach. The Sun Sentinel reports that woman obtained some 12,000 prescription pain pills from a total of seven doctors throughout South Florida over the course of a year-and-a-half.

The state began its investigation shortly after the Florida Highway Patrol started its own following a fatal bicycle accident on the Sanibel Causeway. She is suspected of visiting numerous doctors for large prescription pain medication refills in the month prior to the crash.

Even more recently, a dentist from Jupiter was arrested on charges that he wrote phony prescription pain medications for patients, which he later filled himself. The investigation started last month, when a pharmacy called his practice to inquire about conflicting medications prescribed to a patient. But the office manager at the dental practice who fielded that call couldn’t find any record of the patient in question. Further, the dentist hadn’t been working at that office recently.

Further investigation reportedly revealed numerous prescriptions written in that patient’s name.

The dentist has since been charged with fraud and drug trafficking.

Such crimes can be charged federally, but under state law, they fall under Florida Statute 893.135. This law holds that anyone who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, brings into the state or who is knowingly in actual possession of more than four grams of any form of morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, opium or anything similar (as described in Florida Statute 893.03(1)(b) or (2)(a) commits a first-degree felony – punishable by between three and 25 years, depending on the amount of drug found and the extent of the operation.

We understand that addiction can be a powerful force, but we also know that you will need a powerful defense team to defend your chance at a better future.

If you are charged with a crime in Palm Beach or Broward counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.

Additional Resources:
Boynton Beach couple charged with trafficking, Jan. 2, 2013, By Ed Komenda, Sun Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Palm Beach Burglary Investigation Leads to Major Drug Bust, Nov. 13, 2012, Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog

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