Prescription drugs are controlled substances rather than prohibited compounds. It is, in theory, legal to possess and use prescription medication provided that someone has a prescription from their doctor and follows the instructions of their physician.
However, people make mistakes every day when using prescription medications that put them at risk of criminal prosecution. Some of these mistakes are more common and egregious than others, and anyone with a prescription for medication needs to know about how their personal choices could lead to criminal charges.
When might a prescription medication lead to someone’s arrest?
When they drive after taking medication
Numerous kinds of medications come with warning labels attached advising people to neither drive nor operate heavy machinery after taking a dose of the medication. Even if someone believes that they have developed a tolerance and can now effectively drive without any noticeable signs of reduced ability, police officers might arrest them if they admit to taking a mind-altering prescription drug like an anti-epileptic medicine or an opioid before driving.
When they possess someone else’s medication
A doctor’s recommendation for a particular drug does not give someone carte blanche permission to possess and use as much as they would like. They typically can only possess what the doctor recommended and should only take according to the dosage in timing that the doctor recommended. Those who purchase the same medication on the unregulated market to supplement what their doctor prescribes could very easily find themselves facing prescription drug charges.
When they transfer their medication to others
The inverse situation can also lead to criminal charges. Someone who does not finish their prescription and who transfers their remaining medication to a friend, coworker or family member could end up charged with a crime. If they get caught in the act or if the person who has the medication gets arrested, they could face consequences as well. In a scenario where someone dies or causes harm to others after consuming someone else’s medication, there could be serious consequences possible.
Those who understand that there are limits to what they can lawfully do with a prescription medication will be in a better position to avoid potentially life-altering mistakes. Seeking legal guidance to better understand the limits on what one can do with a prescription medication can potentially benefit anyone who is using a controlled substance under the recommendation of a doctor.