It’s a common misconception that prescription pill sharing is no big deal, especially taking a pill from the medicine cabinet of a family member. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There are both federal and state laws that make using or sharing prescription drugs illegal. If you take a pill that was prescribed to someone else or give that pill to another person, not only is it against the law, it’s extremely dangerous.
According to the National Council on Patient Information and Education, teens may abuse prescription drugs because there’s less of a stigma than there is with street drugs. If there are prescription drugs in the household medicine cabinet, they may be easy for teens to get, and since they’re prescribed by a doctor, there’s a perception that these drugs are safer than street drugs.
But with the growing opioid epidemic, it’s especially important for parents to curb any prescription drug abuse, and treat it as seriously as if they caught their teen with marijuana or another illegal street drug.
Prescription drugs are considered controlled substances. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act make it clear that the only legal way to access prescription drugs is to have a doctor’s prescription. This law states that “no controlled substance … may be dispensed without the written prescription of a practitioner.”
Sometimes even when a doctor does prescribe a drug, it may violate the law. For example, if a doctor writes a prescription for too many pills, either knowing that they are going to be resold or knowing that the amount is way too much medication for a single patient, that could be considered a criminal act.
Too much medication, even if it’s prescribed, can lead to criminal charges of possession with intent to distribute in some states.
Another little known fact-carrying pills in a container other than the prescription bottle received at the pharmacy is illegal and can lead to charges.
Given the opioid epidemic and the heightened awareness of the drug problem in this country, law enforcement are on the look out for those who are in possession of drugs illegally. Word to the wise.