Beware of handling someone else's prescriptions

If you are like many people, you never gave a second thought to accepting offers of leftover medication from a friend. After all, your friend had the same condition recently, and the medication helped his or her recovery. Now you may feel like you have the opportunity to get better as well.

However, it can be a crime to possess medication without a prescription, even if someone else legally obtained it. In fact, you could even, theoretically, get in trouble for taking your own prescription drugs out of their labeled bottles and putting them in pill boxes.

The rationales behind the laws

There is no doubt that many people in the United States struggle with addiction issues, and that is where many of these seemingly draconian laws that result in serious criminal charges come from. There is also the fact that it can be dangerous to your health to take a drug without seeing a doctor first. For example, you may have a heart condition that your friend does not, and taking his or her medication could be unsafe for you.

What to do

To stay legally safe, use only medication that has been prescribed to you. If you have leftover medication, dispense of the pills in the manner indicated on the bottle or by your doctor, not by giving them to loved ones you think could benefit from them. In the eyes of the law, "gifting" the pills is the same as selling them and can result in charges all around.

Be even more careful if children or teenagers are in the house, and secure any prescription bottles. Many families opt to keep their medications, both prescription and over the counter, in locked containers. In fact, this is a general requirement for prospective foster parents. It keeps the children safe and ensures that teenagers do not somehow end up with medications, even selling them.

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