It is generally neither legal nor safe to share prescription medications with others. Prescription medications are prescribed by healthcare professionals for specific individuals and medical conditions. Sharing prescription medications with someone for whom they were not prescribed can result serious consequences for several reasons.
Even if the medication was purchased legally and with a valid prescription, sharing is a legal violation because it involves passing that medication to a person who does not hold the prescription in question. This is even true when medication is not being sold for a profit, but is being shared for free. People often do this with family members or friends, claiming that they had good intentions – they were just trying to help – without realizing that this course of action is illegal.
What are the potential ramifications?
The distribution of prescription drugs – to individuals without the correct prescription – may lead to significant criminal charges, including drug sales, drug trafficking or even drug distribution charges. The authorities are very conscious of the illegal prescription drug market, especially when it comes to painkillers that people use recreationally. This is not to say that everyone who shares medication is giving it to someone who will use it recreationally, of course. But this type of use is why these drugs and medications are so closely controlled, and it is partially why sharing them is illegal.
Why are painkillers of particular concern?
The opioid epidemic in America is a multi-faceted public health crisis, and there are numerous contributing factors. While there is no single cause, several key factors have played a significant role in its emergence. One of the primary drivers of the opioid epidemic was the over-prescription of opioid pain medications by healthcare professionals in the 1990s and early 2000s. These medications, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, were often prescribed for pain management, including chronic pain conditions. Many people became addicted and couldn’t stop using.
Additionally, there were misleading marketing practices. Some pharmaceutical companies engaged in aggressive marketing campaigns that downplayed the risks of opioid medications and exaggerated their benefits, leading to widespread use. Many healthcare providers and patients are still not fully aware of the addictive potential of opioid medications, so sharing them with loved ones who are struggling remains a real concern.
Legal defense options
This is clearly a very complex issue, and it underscores the seriousness of being accused of sharing or selling illegal medications. Those who are facing charges must know what legal defense options they have available, so seeking legal guidance promptly in the wake of an arrest is critical.