Can I share my prescription meds?

It is no secret that the medical community and law enforcement are concerned about the growing opioid crisis. The overprescribing of painkillers has resulted in addiction for many patients, and substance abuse can cause people to take risks they would not normally take. If those with addictions to painkillers are unable to obtain the drugs through a legal prescription, they may seek to purchase pills through other means.

The government controls the manufacturing and distribution of many opioid medications in an attempt to prevent dangerous circumstances, such as overdoses and crime that often escalates in areas where drug use is prevalent. Some of the controls over drugs make it a crime to possess or use medications that a doctor did not prescribe for you.

Prescriptions and the law

You may think nothing about accepting a pill from a friend or family member if you are feeling pain or anxiety. Your friend’s prescription may be just what you need at the moment, and taking one or two pills may provide you relief right away instead of having to get an appointment with a doctor to get your own prescription.

However, taking medicine that is prescribed to someone else is against federal and Illinois laws. Likewise, sharing your medications with others is a crime known as distribution. It can be even worse for you if others pay you for the medicine you share. As innocent as it may seem, the law considers such actions drug crimes. Your doctor may also be culpable if he or she intentionally prescribes you more medication than you need knowing that you intend to sell or share the extra pills.

It may seem harmless

The best way to manage your prescription painkillers is to keep them safely in your home in the original container with the prescription label attached. You may find it more convenient to remove just the pills you need for the day and keep them in a smaller container or plastic bag in your pocket or purse. However, if police happen to stop you, they may assume the pills are illegally obtained or that you intend to distribute them unless you can produce proof of your prescription.

Sharing medications with friends or family, even close family members, is risky because the dosage the doctor prescribes that is suitable for one person may be dangerous or deadly to another. You can’t be sure how the medication will react with your personal history, hidden medical conditions or other medications you may be taking. Additionally, it is not worth the chances you take with the law by using someone else’s drugs or sharing your prescription with others.