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Florida Drug Defense Attorney > Blog > Drug Crime Defense > What Are Z-Drugs, And Are They Legal?

What Are Z-Drugs, And Are They Legal?


Children who attended drug education classes in school in Florida in the 1980s and the early 1990s could see through the “drugs are bad” propaganda.  At least, they could tell that their buttoned-down teachers simply didn’t know enough about cannabis, cocaine, and heroin to have an informed opinion about them.  Meanwhile, the glimmer in the teacher’s eye showed that she secretly enjoyed alcohol and cigarettes, even as she admonished students not to try them.  When the teacher talked about barbiturates, though, the fear in her voice was genuine.  Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants that, in previous decades, were commonly prescribed as sleeping pills.  So many celebrities your teacher grew up seeing on TV died of accidental overdoses of barbiturates, from the musicians Jimi Hendrix and Dinah Washington to the actress Judy Garland, and even the Beatles manager Brian Epstein.  Even though the current medical uses are much more limited, the drugs that have replaced them for treatment of insomnia and anxiety still have abuse potential, and you can still get in legal trouble for taking them if they have not been prescribed to you.  If you are facing criminal charges for illegal possession of prescription sleeping pills, contact a Florida drug offense attorney.

Nonbenzodiazepines, Also Known as Z-Drugs

Zopiclone was first introduced on the market as a sleep medication, meant to be safer than benzodiazepines, which had replaced the even more dangerous barbiturates.  Other, similar drugs have since become widely prescribed as sleeping pills; the category of drugs is known as nonbenzodiazepines because they have a similar mechanism of action as benzodiazepines, even though, chemically, they are not very similar to benzodiazepines.  This category of drugs is also called Z-drugs, because the generic names of the oldest ones, zopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem, begin with the letter Z.  The most commonly prescribed Z-drugs include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata.

Z-drugs are Schedule IV controlled substances, which means that they are prescription drugs with a recognized potential for intentional misuse.  These drugs can be addictive, and many people who have not received a prescription for them take them when they can get them.  You can be convicted of a crime if you possess Ambien or other Z-drugs without a prescription or if you sell the drugs that have been prescribed to you.  It is not safe to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of Z-drugs.  Therefore, if you drive after taking Ambien, Lunesta, or Sonata, even if you have a prescription for it, you can still be charged with DUI.  If you get arrested for illegal possession or sale of Z-drugs or any other kind of prescription drugs, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer.

Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Criminal Charges for Possession of Prescription Drugs

A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for possession of prescription sleeping pills such as Lunesta or Ambien.  Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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