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Colorado trial attorneys

What parents should know about our state’s drug laws

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP May 2, 2019

You may know that our state was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Most parents also realize that the legalization of recreational marijuana does not by any means indicate that the state is lax regarding other drug usage.

Statistics indicate that as many as one in four college students use prescription drugs improperly. Knowing this, it is important for parents of children attending school in Colorado to understand the recent legislative changes regarding drug offenses, especially those involving prescription drugs.

Recently, Colorado passed legislation designed specifically to fight prescription drug offenses in the state. The bill, passed in 2017, created access for physicians to a prescription drug monitoring program. This can have a particular effect on young people, away from home for the first time, who may be receiving prescriptions from their doctors at home with little oversight.

What is unique about Colorado’s drug laws?

This new bill may lead to an uptick in criminal prescription drug charges, as it makes the monitoring of prescriptions much easier. Therefore, it is important to understand a few important characteristics of the related state law around common prescription substances like hydrocodone (Vicodin), lorazepam (Ativan) and alprazolam (Xanax).

  • Drugs are classified into five different “schedules.” The schedule of the drug involved in your offense can have implications for the charge and sentencing.
  • The charge can depend on things like the amount of drug in the accused’s possession. If your child had a larger amount of the drug, he or she can be charged with intent to distribute even if they had no such plans.
  • If this is not your child’s first offense, the maximum sentence can be multiplied by a factor of up to four.

Having a child accused of any sort of offense is terrifying. With Colorado’s recent emphasis on prescription drug offenses, these charges can be particularly alarming. Consider learning more about Colorado’s recent drug laws so you can rest assured that you understand all your child may face if her or she is accused of a prescription drug offense.