Legal consequences of prescription drugs

Editor’s note: This story was a part of the in-depth package of our April 26, 2019 issue, which won best series or project in the Dallas Morning News high school journalism contest. It also won second place for print in-depth news/feature packages in the ILPC contest. 

Besides the medical consequences of taking prescription drugs, it is also a crime. A misconception is that if someone isn’t 18 yet, they will get lesser sentences. However, in the eyes of the law and court system, people become a legally responsible adult at 17.

Being high isn’t necessarily a crime, however, possession of the drug, driving under the influence and selling can all result in legal action. DWI charges don’t just apply to alcohol, they are applicable to driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance. Selling prescription drugs is treated almost the same as selling illegal drugs and can result in a drug dealing charge. Most drug related charges cannot be taken off permanent records, which can majorly affect everything from getting a job to a driver’s license.

SRO Joe Gray said that it’s easy to get up to felony level offenses simply because drug related crime happened near or on school property.