The use and possession of Valium are considered illegal when an individual is caught with the substance without a valid prescription, in an amount that exceeds their prescribed amount or with a prescription that has passed its expiration date. Offenses related to the illegal use and possession of Valium include substantial legal and financial consequences, such as arrest, criminal prosecution, incarceration, driver’s license suspension, mandatory drug treatment and rehabilitation programs, financial penalties and other conditions.
Valium (diazepam) is a prescription depressant belonging to the benzodiazepine family, which is most commonly used in the treatment of anxiety, panic disorders, muscle spasms, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and specific seizure disorders.
As a result of its considerable risks and addictive qualities, Valium (diazepam) is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While compared to that of Schedule I, II and III controlled substances, Schedule IV narcotics are characterized by lower risks of abuse, psychological and physical dependence, this does not suggest that substances like Valium lack addictive qualities. In fact, despite their comparatively lower risks, Schedule IV substances like Valium are among the most frequently abused prescription drugs.
The specific penalties associated with the unlawful use and possession of Valium vary from state to state. The charges an individual faces if they are caught unlawfully possessing Valium are primarily dependent upon the amount of the substance possessed, the intent of possession and an individual’s relative criminal history. However, regardless of their severity or nature, the unlawful use and possession of Schedule IV substances like Valium are universally illegal throughout the United States.
Article at a Glance:
- Valium is a controlled substance, classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule IV drug
- As a controlled substance, people prescribed Valium must follow specific laws for the drug’s storage and use
- Using someone else’s Valium is illegal, as is selling excess Valium
- Legal penalties vary but generally increase the larger the volume of Valium involved. Large amounts of Valium indicate an intent to distribute, which results in the harshest legal penalties.
- To avoid legal trouble, always keep your Valium in its original container, safely dispose of excess medication upon expiration and never let anyone else use your Valium
Crimes Associated with Valium
Valium is prescribed in variety of forms and concentrations, including tablets (ranging from 2mg to 10mg), oral solutions (1mg/1ml to 5mg), rectal gels (2.5mg to 20mg), injectable solutions (5mg) and intramuscular devices (5mg). All of these forms and concentration are attainable legally, through a prescription from a licensed physician. Because of its status as a Schedule IV controlled substance, possession of Valium (in any form or concentration) without a prescription or in excess of the prescribed amount is a crime that can have significant legal repercussions. Individuals with a Valium-related substance use disorder most often obtain the narcotic through the black market or purchase it from another individual with a valid prescription.
Criminal offenses related to the unlawful possession of Valium most commonly result in state-level penalties of a misdemeanor or felony classifications. Misdemeanor offenses are typically reserved for the lowest quantities of possession, while felony offenses are applied to larger amounts, prescription fraud and the intent to distribute.
State-level penalties are almost always determined by the quantity of Valium within an individual’s possession, the way the substance came into that individual’s possession, and the intent of possession. Those charged with misdemeanor offenses are likely to face small court fines, probation and limited periods of incarceration, while felony offenders may face incarceration periods of up to 10 years in prison.
Certain offenses, such as trafficking Valium, constitute violations of federal law and are subject to federal prosecution under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Sentencing guidelines for trafficking of Schedule IV narcotics include a financial penalty of between $250,000 and $1 million and an incarceration period of up to 5 years in federal prison, for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders are subject to compounded financial penalties of between $500,000 and $2 million, alongside an additional 10-year federal prison sentence.
Caught Without My Valium Prescription
The only form of lawful Valium possession is the exact allotment and form of the original prescription. Having someone else’s Valium is illegal. Having more than the originally prescribed amount or having Valium in a form different than what was prescribed are also illegal. All forms of unlawful Valium possession are likely to result in significant legal and financial repercussions.
Valium Prescription in a Bottle
Once prescribed Valium by a physician, regardless of its form or concentration, a patient receives their medication in a bottle with a medication label listing the patient’s personal information and the name and concentration of the prescription. The bottle also displays the prescribing physician and pharmacy’s information, alongside dosage instructions, the prescription expiration date and the total amount of the substance contained within the bottle.
To lawfully possess one’s own Valium prescription, the medication must remain stored in its original bottle or container, in an amount that is equal to or less than the maximum amount listed on the medication label. Also, the prescription must be possessed on a date prior to the prescription’s listed expiration date. So long as all of these conditions are met, an individual will not face any legal penalties for possession of their Valium prescription.
Prescription Outside the Bottle
The prior conditions for the legal possession of one’s prescription Valium are especially important in states that consider possession of prescription drugs outside their original container to be unlawful and prosecutable offenses. There are some exemptions, like removing the prescription from the bottle for consumption, but reasonable repackaging exemptions explicitly exclude storage in pockets, purses or any other non-medical storage devices.
Laws and regulations pertaining to the storage and possession of prescription drugs vary by state and include a relatively wide range of exemptions. As a result, if you have concerns regarding the storage of your prescription drugs (such as Valium), it is important to consult with your doctor.
Caught and Not My Valium Prescription
Possession of Schedule IV controlled substances, such as Valium, without a valid prescription is illegal throughout the United States. An individual caught in possession of Valium that was obtained through the black market, prescribed to someone else, or obtained using other means has committed an unlawful offense and will face significant legal consequences. These consequences are likely to include arrest, criminal prosecution, financial penalties, and incarceration.
As the penalties associated with Valium-related offenses vary greatly by state, consult a legal professional about your state’s specific laws and the penalties associated with violating those laws.
If you or a loved one struggle with a Valium-related substance use disorder, dependence or addiction, contact The Recovery Village today. Call to speak with a representative who can help you understand what treatment program can work best for you. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
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Department of Justice. “Controlled Substance Schedules.” Accessed April 30, 2019.
Medscape. “diazepam (Rx).” Accessed April 30, 2019.
Schneider Freiberger Law. “Valium Possession Charges in New Jersey.” Accessed April 30, 2019.
Yeh, Brian T. “Drug Offenses: Maximum Fines and Terms of Imprisonment for Violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and Related Laws.” Congressional Research Service, January 20, 2015. Accessed April 30, 2019.
RxOutreach. “Understanding Prescription Medication Labels.” Accessed April 30, 2019.