Pharmacists and Drug Diversion Charges in the State of Texas
Crimes related to prescription drug fraud have become so prevalent and have gotten so much press that it is difficult to deny that we are facing a serious problem that needs to be thoroughly addressed. Most of the focus on this problem has been on consumers who attempt to procure prescription medications without the necessary prescriptions from their doctors or on doctors who are too liberal with their prescriptions for dangerous mood-altering medications. Sometimes, however, the script is flipped, and doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals steal or otherwise co-opt drugs for illegal purposes, which is a crime called diversion.
Drug diversion refers to when medical professionals, such as pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy technician trainees, doctors, nurses, and paramedics, divert drugs that they have access to (via prescription or any other means) for any uses other than those for which the medications can be legally prescribed in the first place. The consequences of such diversions can be quite harsh.
Drug diversion charges can be federal, governed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or state. In Texas, diverting a controlled substance for one’s personal use is classified as a state felony – the penalty for which can range from six months to two years behind bars (in a state jail) and can carry up to $10,000 in fines. When the charge relates to diversion for someone else's benefit, it is a third-degree felony that carries from 2 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
If charged with drug diversion, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy technician trainees face extremely serious professional consequences. The Texas State Board of Pharmacy handles all related disciplinary actions, and its reach is broad. Consider the following consequences:
Your license may be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the charges.
The Board will conduct its own disciplinary review in addition to the state’s legal case.
Even if the court drops the charge against you, the Board has vast discretion and may not reinstate your professional licensure if it determines that professional misconduct was involved
Drug diversion is not only a serious problem but is also a serious charge that can derail your hard-earned pharmacy career. You need the professional legal counsel of an accomplished criminal defense lawyer in your corner.
Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are a pharmacist – or any other kind of medical professional – who is facing a drug diversion charge, you owe it to yourself, your profession, and your future to consult with a formidable criminal defense lawyer sooner rather than later. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is just such a lawyer, and he is committed to aggressively advocating on behalf of your rights and in support of your case’s most favorable resolution. Your future is too important to leave to chance, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.