The United States has a prescription medication system that dictates who can prescribe medications, and who can take them. Legally, the only person who can ingest prescription medications is the person whose name is on the bottle.
So, what happens when you are out with friends and one of them has forgotten her prescription medication, or has a physical need that you could help with by simply giving her one of your pills? Is that committing a crime?
A risky choice
The answer is yes, you could get into trouble. You could face time in prison if law enforcement catches you breaking federal law by sharing prescription drugs. The outcome may depend on the drug and how much of it you shared. And in Minnesota, you could be looking at a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on certain factors such as whether other illegal activity (such as prescription fraud) took place.
The type of drug also matters, as some medications are illegal without a prescription from a licensed prescriber and pharmacist. These include controlled substances such as the following:
- ADHD medications – Many school-age kids, from middle school up through college, believe that these drugs help them study and succeed in school.
- Opiates – People often share or sell these highly addictive painkillers.
- Xanax and other benzodiazepines – Many people enjoy the state of calmness and euphoria that this type of drug induces, even in the absence of a qualifying medical condition.
A result you can live with
The potential consequences of sharing your medications can be far worse than you think. So even when your motivation is to simply help a friend, it is a great idea to keep your pills to yourself. You will stay out of trouble, and you will not have to worry about being responsible for any health risks associated with friends and family taking the medication.