There are many reasons that doctors might prescribe fentanyl to a patient. Late-stage cancer is one common reason that people take fentanyl regularly. Nerve damage, traumatic injuries or recent surgeries could also lead to a doctor prescribing fentanyl for a patient. Fentanyl is stronger than traditional opiate medications and also cheaper, making it popular among doctors treating severe pain and insurance providers alike.
Thousands of people in Ohio take fentanyl under the supervision of a medical professional each year without any health or legal consequences. They use it to manage their pain and then taper their use to a healthy and safe completion of treatment.
However, there are also thousands of people every year who become dependent on fentanyl, often after taking it for legitimate medical purposes. Many Ohio adults get arrested for offenses involving fentanyl possession, even if they have or had a prescription for this drug.
There are limits to the protection of a prescription
Simply having a doctor’s recommendation to use a medication does not make it legal for someone to use that substance however they wish. They can only use the medication as directed by the physician overseeing their care. They must source the medication from a licensed pharmacy and have to abide by the guidelines regarding the dosage and timing, as well as restrictions on certain behaviors like driving.
If a doctor stops refilling a prescription, a patient cannot continue using the medication by sourcing it through the unregulated market. Those discovered in possession of someone else’s medication or far more fentanyl than their doctor prescribed could end up arrested for possession even though they have a prescription for the medication.
Ohio applies serious penalties to fentanyl cases
Imposing harsh penalties, especially for those in possession of large quantities of fentanyl, is one way that the state seeks to deter the proliferation of a substance that has caused thousands of overdose deaths and damaged countless families.
Given the surge in criminal activity and hospitalizations associated with fentanyl abuse, the criminal courts in Ohio have a vested interest in minimizing fentanyl offenses. Responding appropriately to pending drug charges related to fentanyl possession can benefit those who have been accused of violating control substance laws in Ohio with or without a prescription.