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Prescription drugs

Is it illegal to give prescription drugs to a friend?

Giving your friend one of your prescription painkillers or another prescription medication might seem like a no-brainer. If your friend is suffering, why don’t you try to help him? Well, tragically, in this context, being a Good Samaritan might get you in a little – or a lot – of trouble.

Sharing prescription drugs of any kind violates state and federal laws, which can result in a variety of criminal consequences. This can include fines, community service, probation, and even jail time.

What if they suffer?

It is against the law to possess or consume a prescription drug for which you do not have a prescription. It doesn’t matter if your friend tells you he’s in a lot of pain or just got home from the dentist.

Outside of the doctor-pharmacist prescription system, the distribution of any prescription drug is illegal. While it’s perfectly legal for you to take your medication, that same medication becomes illegal once you get it into the wrong hands.

This therefore means that giving your prescription drugs to your friend could make you guilty of dispensing (or even intending to dispense) prescription drugs without proper documentation. This is highly illegal.

It can also be extremely dangerous to consume or dispense drugs without a prescription. There are countless possibilities for serious complications that a doctor and pharmacist are aware of and that you may not be aware of.

Whether it’s incorrect dosage, allergies or side effects, taking a drug without the advice of a licensed physician can have life-threatening consequences. Don’t play doctor when your friend tells you he’s in pain.

What if we used the same prescription?

Even though the medicine is the same, unless you are a prescribing doctor, in the eyes of the law, giving your friend a prescription medicine is illegal and considered dispensing.

It doesn’t matter if your friend also has a prescription for Adderall or whatever else he asks of you, it’s still illegal. “But I don’t have mine with me” is not a valid excuse.

Can a friend pick up my prescription?

In most cases, it is acceptable for someone else to pick up an order on your behalf. There might be a specific protocol to follow, although it all depends on the judgment of the pharmacist.

In most cases, the pharmacist will simply verify that the person picking up the prescription knows the patient by asking for certain patient information (i.e. the patient’s address or date of birth), or the pharmacist may ask to see identification.

Therefore, a friend collecting your prescription for their own use is highly illegal.

So think twice before lending a friend one of your prescription Tylenol.

You don’t have to solve this problem on your own – Get help from a lawyer

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how best to protect your rights. Check out our lawyer directory to find a lawyer near you who can help you.

Joan J. Dean

The author Joan J. Dean