Prescription opioids such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin are valuable treatment options when included as part of an individual’s plan for an injury or illness that requires medical pain management. However, the potency and availability of these drugs make them popular among recreational drug users and abusers.
Georgia’s controlled substance statutes are complex, and possessing a controlled drug without a prescription is a serious criminal offense.
Drug classifications in Georgia
Georgia law classifies controlled substances according to abuse potential ranking from the most to least dangerous:
- Schedule I: extremely harmful drugs with no medical use (MDMA, heroin, LSD, etc.)
- Schedule II: drugs used in medicine with a high probability of dependency (morphine and OxyContin)
- Schedule III: dangerous but lower-risk drugs (anabolic steroids or Vicodin)
- Schedule IV: common prescription medications with low abuse potential (Ambien, Xanax, etc.)
- Schedule V: very common, sometimes over-the-counter medications with low dependency risk (codeine, diphenhydramine, etc.)
Penalties for drug possession
In Georgia, even low-level drug possession charges can result in harsh punishments. An individual convicted of possessing a Schedule I or II substance faces 2-15 years of incarceration for a first offense and up to 30 years for a subsequent conviction. For Schedule III, IV or V drugs, a first-time offender faces 1-5 years in prison. Repeat offenders can spend up to 10 years behind bars.
If you face accusations of possessing a controlled substance illegally, it is important to understand your rights under the law, as well as the factors that influence rulings in Georgia criminal courts.