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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Virginia Laws Concerning Prescription Drugs, Bath Salts and Inhalants

Virginia Laws Concerning Prescription Drugs, Bath Salts and Inhalants

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The Commonwealth of Virginia prohibits the possession or distribution of illegal drugs classified as controlled substances. Certain illegal drugs tend to dominate the headlines, including but not limited to cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. But Virginia laws provide guidelines for numerous other controlled substances. Moreover, the penalties for infraction are quite severe, making it vital to understand the law concerning controlled substances.

To gain a detailed appreciation of this situation, the following sections will outline Virginia laws and penalties for prescription drugs, bath salts, and inhalants.

Prescription Drugs

As underlined in Code of Virginia section 18.2-250, it is illegal to possess prescription drugs without a valid doctor’s order. In this same vein, it is illegal to take pharmaceuticals that were prescribed to another person, such as a friend or family member. It does not matter if the prescription involves painkillers, depressants, or stimulants. The same rules apply.

The penalties for unlawful possession of a prescription drug depend on the schedule classification. But at a minimum, offenders are guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and face fines up to $250.

Bath Salts

Often referred to as bath salts, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylmethcathinone (mephedrone) are classified as Schedule I drugs under Code of Virginia section 54.1-3446. Bath salts are sometimes marketed and sold as “herbal incense,” with a required warning that the product is not intended for human consumption.

Despite this warning, certain people have snorted, smoked, or injected bath salts to achieve a high similar to cocaine, ecstasy, or amphetamines. The danger of taking bath salts is a heightened risk of heart attack or stroke, not to mention vomiting, nose bleeding, and seizures.

Possession of bath salts is a Class 5 felony crime in Virginia. Offenders can face penalties that include up to 10 years in jail and $2,500 in fines.


Inhalants are chemical vapors that people inhale on purpose to get “high.” The vapors produce mind-altering and sometimes disastrous effects.

To illustrate the danger of inhalants, there is a risk of death even for the first use. There is a syndrome referred to “sudden sniffing death” that happens when users take inhalants in an enclosed space or using a bag. By replacing oxygen with inhalants, the use achieves a dangerous high that may result in suffocation and death.

As highlighted in Code of Virginia section 18.2-264, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to take inhalants. The penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines. It is also a Class 2 misdemeanor to incite another person to take inhalants. The penalties for a Class 2 misdemeanor include 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are facing criminal charges for a drug-related offense – from possession to manufacture and trafficking – it is wise to retain the services of a competent criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP service Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, and are prepared to assist you today.



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