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Do New Hampshire’s drug laws also apply to prescription medicines?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense

As in other U.S. states, New Hampshire takes a hardline stance against controlled substances. It’s a crime to possess, distribute and manufacture controlled substances, and the penalties include fines and prison time.

Controlled substances often refer to illicit drugs such as heroin, meth and cocaine. However, some prescription medicines are also classified as controlled substances due to their high risk for abuse and addiction. New Hampshire’s drug laws apply to drugs both legal and otherwise, and there are ramifications for anyone caught unlawfully distributing prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs that are controlled substances

New Hampshire classifies controlled substances into five schedules based on their medical use, potential for substance abuse and dependence liability. The following are some prescription medications that have been identified as controlled substances:

Schedule II

  • Oxycodone (found in OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (found in Vicodin)
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Fentanyl
  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine)
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)

Schedule III

  • Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (i.e., Tylenol with codeine)
  • Ketamine
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone

Schedule IV

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Schedule V

  • Cough preparations containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or 100 grams (i.e., Robitussin AC)
  • Lacosamide (Vimpat)
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)

Legal repercussions for unlawful possession and distribution

The penalties for prescription drug offenses in New Hampshire can be severe because the same laws prohibiting illicit controlled substances also govern controlled substances with actual medical use.

Any person who manufactures, sells, prescribes, administers, transports or possesses with the intent to sell any controlled substance with medical use without authorization violates state law. The punishments on conviction depend on the type of controlled substance involved.

For instance, a person possessing an ounce or more of a Schedule II prescription drug like fentanyl or oxycodone with the intent to distribute faces up to 20 years of prison and $300,000 in fines on conviction.

Meanwhile, the possession of any Schedule V prescription drug with the intent to distribute leads to up to three years of prison and $25,000 in fines.

Prescription drug offenses are a serious matter in New Hampshire. If you or someone you know is facing prescription drug charges, it might be helpful to consult a legal professional to understand your rights and options.

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