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Is prescription fraud a federal offense in Maine?

Drug charges at the federal level can range from a simple possession of marijuana charge to larger operations such as manufacturing and distribution of controlled substances.

State laws tend to differ on the severity of punishing certain drug crimes at the federal level there are certain drug related crimes that are so severe that they carry mandatory minimum penalties.

Federal crimes that do carry mandatory minimum penalties and possible long-term incarceration including:

  • drug trafficking
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Conspiracy
  • Possession
  • illegal importation of drugs &
  • prescription drug related offenses.

Maine criminal code Title 17-A defines a prescription drug as any drug that:

1. Under federal law is required, prior to being dispensed or delivered, to be labeled with either of the following statements:

  1. “Caution: Federal law prohibits dispensing without prescription.” or
  2. “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”

2. Is required by an applicable federal or state law or rule to be dispensed on prescription only or is restricted to use by practitioners only. [1989, c. 384, §1]

There are different types of prescription fraud charges in the state of Maine. There are a number of actions that constitute prescription fraud.

Anything in which a person attempts or successfully obtains a prescription drug when it is not medically necessary can be charged as prescription fraud. Prescription fraud crimes include:
Forging Prescriptions

This can be done in an almost infinite number of ways but generally involves a person changing their prescription or writing themselves false prescriptions in an attempt to get a large amount of a certain drug.

Offenders will usually do this a number of times and at various pharmacies.

  • Stealing Prescription Pads – The act of simply stealing a prescription pad from a doctor or obtaining a pad illegally can be a crime. You can be charged with prescription fraud even if you did not use the pad to get any drugs.
  • Doctor Shopping – This is a term used to describe the practice of a person going from doctor to doctor either attempting to get one to write them a prescription for a drug that they want or getting multiple prescriptions for the same drug.

For example, if a person wants ADHD medicine but does not really have ADHD, they may visit many doctors until one is finally willing to diagnose them.


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