A Different Twist in Drug Sales: Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance

Just about every day in the NYC newspapers we read about someone being arrested for selling drugs such as cocaine, crack, heroin or marijuana. While the sale of drugs in NY can be a serious felony (marijuana sale is usually a misdemeanor in most situations) requiring mandatory prison, NY criminal defense attorneys often defend clients allegedly selling other controlled substances as well. In fact, the Brooklyn District Attorneys Office announced the indictment yesterday of Dr. Richard Lucente, a physician, for allegedly selling prescriptions for steroids. That’s right…Dr. Lucente is indicted for selling the prescription for a controlled substance and not the actual drug. While not as common of a charge as Criminal Sale of a Controlled substance, Dr. Lucente is indicted for Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance. According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, “Lucente is charged with providing patients with prescriptions for steroids and human growth hormones, for a fee, when those patients had no medical need for the drugs.” Prosecutors further allege that Lucente would steer patients to Lowen’s Drug Store in Bay Ridge. In exchange for directing business to the pharmacy, Lowen’s Drug Store paid Lucente nearly $30,000 in kickback over a two to three year period.

Under New York criminal law, a person is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance when, being a practitioner, that person knowingly and unlawfully sells a prescription for a controlled substance. In simple terms, a person is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance if they are a doctor, or similar professional, and they knowingly sell a prescription not merely for any medicine, but for a controlled substance such as steroids.

While prosecutors, Dr. Lucente and his criminal defense attorney are the only ones that know where this particular case will go, one thing is certain. Law enforcement is not only going to pursue the drug trade in the streets. Whether drugs or the means to obtain them are being sold and traded in a Park Avenue suite, a physician’s office, or somewhere in Harlem, law enforcement presence is not going away anytime soon. If you believe you are a target of a drug investigation or any criminal investigation, contact the criminal defense attorneys and former prosecutors at Saland Law PC.

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