SCOTUS Raises the Bar for Proof of Intent Under the Controlled Substances Act

This week, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in Ruan v. United States requiring subjective intent of wrongdoing in order to convict physicians under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). In a 9-0 decision authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court held that, once a defendant meets the burden of producing evidence that his or her conduct was “authorized,” 21 USC § 841 of the CSA requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases that medical practitioners “knowingly or intentionally” prescribed narcotic painkillers in an unauthorized manner.

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Supreme Court Clarifies That Medical Providers Cannot Be Convicted Of Illegal Drug Distribution If Prosecutors Do Not Prove the Intent To Issue Unauthorized Scripts