There are countless reasons why you might have possession of someone else’s medication. Maybe your loved one has a hard time scheduling their day, and you provide them their medication at the necessary times so that they don’t miss a dose.
Perhaps your loved one has started to abuse the pills, so you hold them as a form of oversight. It’s even possible that your spouse or child no longer needs the remainder of their prescription, so you decided to use some of it for yourself to avoid a trip to the doctor or an extra co-pay at the pharmacy.
What may seem like a common-sense decision could have significant legal risks if you get pulled over by the police or they search you while you are out in public. Can you face charges for carrying someone else’s prescription medication in North Carolina?
Possessing someone else’s medication violates controlled substances law
Most prescription medications pose some amount of risk to the public. Pain medication and psychiatric drugs, for example, can cause addiction or physical dependence. Taking too much or stopping too quickly could have severe health consequences, so physician oversight if necessary. Medications ranging from sleep aids to ADHD medication still have high demand among those without prescriptions because people abuse these medications for recreational purposes.
Controlled substances laws help protect the public by limiting who can possess and use prescribed medication. Only a person with a valid prescription or licensed medical professionals can legally possess or use a controlled substance. The one exception might be if you send a family member to the pharmacy to pick up a medication for you. Even then, they may have to provide their state identification card and provide other information to do so.
What happens if you wind up arrested because of a prescription medication?
If you get caught in possession of someone else’s prescribed drugs, the police will probably arrest you and take the medication from you.
The charges that you face will depend both on the classification of the medication in question and the total weight of the pills that you had. Narcotic pain medications, in particular, could carry more serious consequences than other medications, like antibiotics.
It may be possible for you to defend yourself against allegations of a controlled substances law violation, but you will likely need guidance to develop a workable strategy.