How do normal people wind up in trouble with prescription medications?

Interviewer: What’s the most common scenario that people come to you with, regarding a drug case?

Ladan Law: The most common scenario is something like this: A family member or friend gets prescribed say, a 40 pill vial of Percocet after having a root canal done. This would be a very common prescription for dealing with pain.

Most people’s pain has waned after a few days, and now they have these extra pills. For whatever reason, they go to a friend or family member, and say “Hey, I’ve got these extra pills, you can have them.” The friend dumps them into a baggie, throws them in their purse, and takes them.

At a later time, let’s say someone’s stopped for a minor traffic violation, and now they’ve got 6 grams of Oxycodone (which is what Percocet) loose in a purse. In days gone by, this might have been overlooked because it’s not a street level crime. The current push is for that level of drugs to become a trafficking charge.

At that point, I’m going to have somebody sitting in my office that the State Attorney’s office has charged with trafficking in Oxycodone. In this case, trafficking doesn’t mean they sold it or gave it to anybody, it’s just simple possession over a threshold amount. In this case, 4 grams.

That person could be looking at three years in prison as a first time offender. That’s where the really scary, draconian drug law turns the corner in the state of Florida. I have a better opportunity of getting someone who has a decent amount of heroin a probationary sentence than someone who has 15 pills of Hydrocodone.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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