What are the penalties for prescription drug possession?

Interviewer: You’re saying that people don’t think it’s serious if they sell their prescription Vicodin or Percocet to their friends or people on the street. People are getting in serious trouble for doing that?

Ladan Law: It may be a mindset that because these are pharmaceuticals, they’re not as dangerous a drug as, say, heroin. What people don’t realize is that in the state of Florida, the legislature is punishing Oxycodone, per gram, much more severely than heroin. That surprises a lot of people.

Interviewer: Is there a one pill law, or is there even a one pill threshold for people?

Ladan Law: The thresholds for mandatory prison time in the state of Florida are very low.
It’s one pill, and you don’t even need to sell it to someone else. If you were in possession of one pill of Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, or Xanax (which are commonly prescribed after dental work) without a valid prescription, that is a felony. We are seeing first time offenders prosecuted with felony charges for one pill of Vicodin loose in their purse, car, etc.

The dangerous part about the prescription pills is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to get up to a trafficking amount. When I say the word trafficking, my clients sometimes think of the big drug cartels, with boats coming over from Colombia and the Bahamas, packed with kilo after kilo of cocaine. Most people are surprised to learn that in the state of Florida, the threshold for Oxycodone and Hydrocodone is four grams.

A gram is about the size of an M&M. If you have a pill that weighs half a gram, you only need eight pills to have a trafficking amount of Hydrocodone or Oxycodone. Every trafficking charge carries with it a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison. That’s where they start, and the prison time goes up depending upon the combined weight.

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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