Prescription Drug Charges in KY

Forbes Magazine has said that Kentucky is the fourth most medicated state in the country. Lately, we have also had the nation’s sixth highest rate of prescription drug overdose deaths.

It’s not surprising, then, that combating prescription drug fraud and abuse has been high on our lawmakers’ priority list. And that means that more people need competent representation in court to aggressively defend them against charges of illegally dispensing or using prescription drugs. If you find yourself facing any prescription drug charges, you need an attorney who has experience in Kentucky drug crime law. Dan Carman will be able to help you through the legal tangle and negotiate the best possible outcome for you. Call us at (859) 685-1055.

Questions & Answers

What’s against the law in Kentucky when it comes to prescription pills?
What was the pill mill bill?
What actions are considered to be prescription fraud?
Is it OK to give pills to friends if they don’t pay for them?
What drugs are most commonly connected with prescription drug crime?
What if the drug I’m charged with unlawfully possessing, trafficking or distributing is for rehabilitation purposes?
Are prescription drug crimes prosecuted in state or federal courts?
What are the legal defenses?

What’s against the law in Kentucky when it comes to prescription pills?

KRS Chapter 218A.140 sets forth the law of the Commonwealth of Kentucky regarding prescription drug crimes. You could be charged with breaking the law if you do one of these things:

  • Lie to or withhold information from your doctor in order to get a controlled substance
  • Give a false name or address to a doctor in the attempt to get a controlled drug
  • Give a pharmacist a fraudulent prescription form
  • Put a false or forged label on a prescription bottle
  • Possess, manufacture, sell, dispense, prescribe, distribute or administer a counterfeit substance
  • Assist someone else in obtaining a fraudulent prescription
  • Attempt to obtain a prescription “without having formed a valid practitioner-patient relationship”

All of these things are typically Class D felonies.

What was the pill mill bill?


In April of 2012, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 1 in special session. It cracks down on the licensing of “pain management” facilities and requires that prescriptions of Schedule II and III drugs be reported to the KASPAR (Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronics Reporting) database. It was modified in 2013 by House Bill 217. The purposes of this law are to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs and to enhance law enforcement’s tools to investigate illegal prescribing practices.

What actions are considered to be prescription fraud?

The pill mill bill was aimed at clinics and practitioners. But individuals can get in trouble for prescription fraud as well, by doing the following:

  • Forging a prescription slip
  • Altering a legitimate prescription by changing the type of drug, increasing the quantity or number of refills
  • Doctor shopping, by going to multiple doctors, emergency rooms and pharmacies
  • Faking ailments such as migraine headaches, toothaches, or ADD
  • Deliberately injuring themselves in order to get pain killers
  • Claiming to have lost drugs from a legitimate prescription
  • Impersonating medical staff calling in false prescriptions
  • Stealing blank prescription forms
  • Burglarizing or robbing pharmacies.

Pharmacy workers can get in trouble for Medicaid fraud by substituting generic drugs for brand name drugs, shorting a customer, or filling prescriptions without a refill. Healthcare workers who have access to prescription drugs sometimes steal them.

Is it OK to give pills to friends if they don’t pay for them?

Absolutely not. Even if you have a valid prescription for a drug, you can be charged with illegally trafficking drugs if you sell or give your drugs to someone else. Sharing prescription drugs with someone else is considered dispensing drugs without a license. And the person you gave them to could also get in trouble for taking them.

What drugs are most commonly connected with prescription drug crime?

The prescription drugs seen most often by law enforcement agencies are:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Suboxone
  • Lorcet
  • Dilaudid
  • Percocet
  • Darvocet
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Demerol
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin

What if the drug I’m charged with unlawfully possessing, trafficking or distributing is for rehabilitation purposes?

It might not matter – even if the drug you are alleged to have done something unlawful with is a “rehab drug,” like Suboxone, you can still get in trouble for selling it, for example, without a license to do so and/or to a person without a prescription for it.

Are prescription drug crimes prosecuted in state or federal courts?


Both. Federal law makes it illegal for any person who does not have a license to write prescriptions to sell or give a prescription drug to another person (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)). Healthcare fraud, prescription drug, and money laundering conspiracies carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison. However, the court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal statutes before imposing any sentence following a conviction.

Where can I go for competent legal help?

If you are facing a prescription drug charge, a phone call to Dan Carman could be the next step you need to take. We take seriously what could be serious business for you and your family. Contact us by phone at (859) 685-1055 or through our online form here.