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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Sharing prescription medications: A violation of the law

When you get a medication by prescription, that medication has been specifically designated for your use. By giving it away, you're actually hurting the person you give it to by allowing him or her to avoid going to the doctor and potentially allowing him or her to use a medication that isn't safe.

Even if there is no cash involved when you trade medications or give yours away, it's still illegal to give a prescription medication to a person who doesn't have a prescription. A prescription is what makes it legal for you to obtain and use a medication. If your friend takes one without a prescription, he or she could face a drug charge. Without a valid prescription, the police have a right to arrest your friend. In fact, even with a prescription in his or her name, it's not legal to obtain additional medications, even of the same type, from a friend or family member.

Not all situations are the same when it comes to sharing medications. If you get caught, there is a possibility that you could be prosecuted. The severity of the penalties may vary depending on a number of factors including the type of medication you gave away, the person prosecuting you and whether or not the drug affected your friend negatively.

In many jurisdictions, drug offenses are heard in specialized courts. These courts help nonviolent offenders seek drug addiction treatment and may have more leniency when it comes to issuing a penalty. This is good news for people who share drugs among friends, because it can give them an opportunity to seek treatment or leniency due to their ignorance of the law.

Source: FindLaw, "Is It Illegal to Share or Give Away Prescription Drugs?," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed Oct. 31, 2017

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