Perkins & Dupré LLC
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Can the cops charge you for giving your pills to a friend?

Maybe you had to have surgery because of a lifelong medical condition, or perhaps you got into a car accident and suffered a soft tissue injury. You had pain as a result of your medical issue, so your physician wrote you a prescription for pain relief.

After your recovery, you still had prescription medication left over. Those pain pills may have sat in your dresser or medicine cabinet for months until a co-worker, neighbor or family member mentioned that they have a pain issue that over the counter medication can't seem to help. It may seem compassionate and reasonable to share your leftover prescription medication with someone you know.

Unfortunately, if you get caught in the act or if the other person gets caught in possession of your medication, you could wind up facing distribution charges for a serious controlled substance. It isn't legal for anyone else to possess or use medication that a doctor prescribed to you.

Most narcotic painkillers are Schedule II substances

Modern painkillers derived from opium poppies are called opiates, while synthetic painkillers based on the active compounds found in poppy plants are known as opioids. You will find multiple opioids and opiates, ranging from raw opium itself to codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone on the Schedule II list for controlled substances in Louisiana and at the federal level.

As such, only a physician has the legal right to recommend or dispense these medications to someone else, and only in situations where other, less addictive, pain relief would not suffice. When you receive that prescription, although you or your insurance paid for it, it was only legal for you to use and take in direct compliance with your doctor's orders. If you violate those orders or transfer the medication to someone else, your actions break the law and leave you vulnerable to criminal charges and penalties.

You don't need to receive any financial gain from an illegal transfer of medication for the state to charge you with a crime. After all, the other party could still sell them to someone else or even overdose on the medication even if you didn't receive money for them. You could face very serious criminal charges for sharing pain pills. Even if you avoid jail, the record related to drug distribution could impact your career, education and housing for the rest of your life.

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