A woman working at a hospice in Jacksonville, Florida was recently arrested by Jacksonville police for allegedly stealing prescription pills and morphine from her employer, according to an article on News4Jax.com. The woman is charged with drug trafficking and illegal drug possession. The woman was an LPN (licensed practical nurse) for Community Hospice in Jacksonville and has been accused of stealing Xanax, Oxycontin and Morphine from patients who died at the facility over a period of several months.
Police and prosecutors have been focusing their attention much more on drug crimes involving pills such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Xanax over the last couple of years as opposed to the more traditional drug possession and trafficking crimes involving marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine. The possession, distribution and trafficking of narcotic pills has become much more prevalent over the last several years. The Florida legislature has responded by making the penalty for possessing, trafficking and/or distributing pills without the proper prescription very serious. While it takes a very large amount of marijuana and a significant amount of cocaine to reach the level of drug trafficking (a crime that comes with mandatory minimum prison sentences and very high maximum potential prison sentences), it does not take very many narcotic pills to be charged with trafficking. The number of pills that would commonly be provided in a prescription would often be a sufficient amount for a trafficking charge.
As criminal defense lawyers in the Jacksonville, Florida area, we represent many people who are charged with possession, distribution and/or trafficking of pills, from people addicted to painkillers to doctors and others involved with the operation of pain clinics. Many of them are surprised at how harsh the drug laws are regarding pills and how few of these drugs, relative to other drugs, are necessary to trigger potentially very serious penalties.