Prescription drugs improve the quality of life for a large segment of our society. These drugs provide help battle physical and mental illness or help in other specific ways. Because of these benefits, those who have prescriptions may be tempted to “share” their medicine with family or friends who have a similar illness or medical issue. However, the prescription was explicitly for its recipient and is only valid for them to use. Giving or selling it to others is breaking the law.
This rule does not mean that a caregiver or helpful friend cannot pick up the meds from the pharmacy for the person with the prescription. But, there are clear laws that do apply if the helper takes the medication or sells it. It also means that whomever you or the helper give to or sell the prescription drugs to is also breaking the law.
Penalties are at the federal and state level
Here in Maryland, possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance is a misdemeanor. Penalties are based on the amount of drugs involved, but the person charged could face up to four years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The charges are elevated to a felony if the person charged sold or intended to sell the prescription drugs. Depending upon circumstances, there could be federal charges. The penalties are up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
It is best to take prescription drug charges seriously
The drug laws are not as rigid as the old days of zero tolerance. But, those charged should still be mindful of the impact that criminal charges can have, perhaps limiting employment opportunities, scholarships for students, and more severe charges if they get arrested for a similar crime at a later date. For these reasons and others, it is best to take prescription drug charges seriously and try to minimize the damage.