Bergen County Doctor Admits to Writing Illegal Prescription Drug Scripts
With the rise of prescription drug addiction in New Jersey, charges for possession of prescription drugs are rampant in Bergen County and throughout the state. Law enforcement officials are also going after doctors who illegally prescribe prescription drugs. For example, a doctor in Ridgewood, New Jersey recently pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack after writing illegal scripts for Adderall and Xanax.
Authorities launched an investigation into Dr. James Cowan Jr. in February of last year. Dr. Cowan ran a medical practice out of his home in Ridgewood and was suspected of prescribing drugs to patients in exchange for cash. The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office sent undercover detectives to Dr. Cowan’s office to pose as patients, at which time they received prescriptions for Xanax and Adderall without being evaluated.
Then, when Dr. Cowan became ill, he allegedly pre-signed prescription blanks, which his wife dispensed to patients. Although he was in the hospital and then a nursing home, Cowan was still providing the necessary signatures for patients to obtain prescriptions for highly addictive drugs. For example, Adderall is an amphetamine that stimulates the central nervous system and is often taken to provide energy or stay awake for hours and even days at a time. Xanax is the brand name version of alprazolam, a benzodiazepine that behaves like a tranquilizer and is often prescribed to anxiety sufferers.
Dr. Cowan pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack last week and agreed to forfeit his medical license. Distributing any type of CDS in New Jersey is a very serious crime. In these cases, the specific drug involved and the amount of said drug are important factors when determining the degree of the charges against a defendant.
For example, a charge for illegally dispensing prescription drugs is classified as a second degree crime if the offense involves 100 or more units or pills. Not only does a person face up to 10 years in prison, but they may also be subject to a fine of up to $300,000 (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5).
So what happens to the people who illegally obtain prescription drugs in New Jersey? There is a specific offense known as Obtaining CDS by Fraud that applies when a person acquires a controlled dangerous substance through misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge. This violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-13 is considered a third degree crime punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a maximum fine of $50,000.
Arrested for Prescription Drugs in Bergen County, NJ?
Regardless of the prescription drug charges you are facing, it is crucial to know there are defense strategies and diversionary programs that can be used to have your charges dismissed. Our lawyers examine your case to identify errors in police protocol and violations of your constitutional rights that may provide grounds for a dismissal. You may also be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program or the conditional discharge program, depending on the degree of the charges and if you have a prior criminal record. Sometimes, you may also be able to enroll in Drug Court, which results in the charges being dismissed upon successful completion.
If you are arrested for drug charges in Bergen County, New Jersey, contact our offices in Hackensack for a free consultation with an experienced NJ drug defense attorney. We can be reached anytime at (201) 556-1570 to discuss your case and how we can help fight for the best possible result.
For additional information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Bergen Doc Who Illegally Prescribed Drugs Has License Revoked