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A Leading, Award-Winning Law Firm In North Carolina

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Can you legally pick up a prescription for someone else?

At one time or another, most people have had someone pick up a prescription for them. For example, a father might pick up a prescription for his teenager, or a husband may pick up a prescription for his wife.

It’s not unusual for that to happen. In the majority of cases, the pharmacy will place the prescription medication into a bottle or box with a prescription label. Then, the technician or cashier will place all of the prescriptions into another bag. Sometimes, they’ll staple them shut.

When the other party comes to get the prescriptions, the pharmacy will ask who the prescription is for. They check that the person who is picking up the prescription knows the individual’s birthday as well. Then, the medication is released. This is legal.

If pharmacies allow prescription pick-up by family members or friends, then why could prescription drug possession lead to charges?

It’s important to note that possessing drugs that are not yours without a valid prescription is illegal in most cases. However, there is a large difference between picking up medications for your child or a sick spouse and possessing unmarked bottles filled with medications from friends or colleagues. There is a difference between having a sealed package from the pharmacy and having one that is open and scattered in your vehicle.

If an officer stops you for reckless driving, speeding or another traffic violation and sees that you have open or unmarked pill bottles, you could end up facing charges. On the other hand, speeding with a sealed package of medications intended for a sick child might not result in any. Officers have a great deal of discretion in those cases, so it’s important that you are prepared for any interaction you may have. If you’re accused of possessing the prescription illegally, you don’t have to say anything.

The good news is that these situations can be cleared up. You may be listed on the pharmacy account as an approved pick-up person, or your attorney may be able to get the case dropped quickly if you’re a parent or spouse picking up a prescription for a loved one. Just remember, it is possible that you could be arrested for possessing a medication without a prescription, so you should always have permission to pick up the item and be sure to keep your receipts.