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Requirement in Obtaining Prohibited Drugs from a Medical Practitioner

Section 18 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 requires a person to inform a medical practitioner of any previous prescriptions for prohibited drug within the preceding two months.

Under Section 18 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 it is an offence for a person to:

  • Knowingly and with intent by any representation, through verbal, written or by conduct
  • Obtain or attempt to obtain from an authorized person
  • A prohibited drug or a prescription including a prohibited drug

Without first telling the authorized person that they have already obtained prescriptions of the prohibited drug within the preceding two months.

A person found guilty under Section 18 is liable for imprisonment of 2 years, a penalty of 20 penalty units or both.

This offence is actually a summary offence and will be dealt with by the local courts quickly. It is the onus of the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt under Section 18.

Notice that the first element of the offense involves a mental element which is the knowledge and intent of a person. Thus, the prosecution must prove that the accused was with full knowledge and intention of obtaining a prohibited drug. Knowledge and intention can be proven only by overt acts which of course, an accused can dispute in his defence. In fact, lack of knowledge and intention is one of the most effective defences in this charge.

For a person to be prosecuted for this offense he must have either consummated the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain a prohibited drug from an authorized person who may be a doctor, nurse or midwife. If the act is consummated, the drug must already be in the possession of the accused but if the charge is an attempt then there must have been an event, not by the choice of the accused, that prevented the accused from possessing the drug.

Section 3 provides that a prohibited drug is a substance other than a prohibited plant. This offence pertains to those drugs that may only be obtained if there is a prescription. So for some users these drugs have a medicinal purpose but the use and release of these drugs are being regulated. By not informing the medical practitioner that they have already obtained prescriptions within two months it is deemed that the use of the drug is allready for an illegal purpose.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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