As the opioid crisis continues in the US, law enforcement maintains their crackdown on drug crimes—especially concerning prescription drugs like fentanyl, morphine, codeine, oxycodone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2018 opioids were involved in 46,802 deaths — “nearly 70% of all overdose deaths.” However, those who receive pain meds or other prescriptions do not always realize the severity of sharing their medication with others.

Minnesota and federal law prohibit sharing any amount of a prescribed medication with another person—even if they are a friend or family member. If the friend or family member is arrested for possessing the controlled substance, it could lead to the individual with the prescription to be charged with a drug sale crime. In some circumstances, if the person overdoses and dies, the prescription holder may be charged with third degree murder.

In Minnesota, the act of “selling” drugs has a broad definition, which includes:

  • Selling
  • Giving away
  • Bartering
  • Delivering
  • Exchanging
  • Distributing or disposing of to another
  • Manufacturing
  • Offering or agreeing to do any of the above
  • Possessing with intent to do any of the above

Some of the most commonly abused prescription medications are:

Opioids: typically prescribed for pain and include morphine, codeine, and oxycodone.

CNS Depressants: may be prescribed for anxiety or sleep disorders and include benzodiazepines (such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax)) and barbiturates.

Stimulants: may be used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy and include dextroamphetamine (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

There are five degrees of controlled substance crimes. The severity of a charge depends on many different factors, which includes the amount and identity of controlled substance involved, whether a firearm was possessed, and the location of the sale or distribution.

Sharing prescribed medication with others is dangerous and illegal. If you or someone you know has been arrested for selling or possessing a controlled substance in Minnesota, contact the defense attorneys at F. Clayton Tyler for expert legal representation. We are well-versed in Minnesota and federal law pertaining to drug crimes and will work hard to get you the best possible outcome.