2 questions on prescribed drugs and the law

The questions are prompted by idle curiosity, nothing else.

  1. If you’re prescribed a drug in one US state does that make it OK to have in your possession when you visit other states?

  2. Let’s say I’m prescribed a narcotic drug or something equally heavy and the instructions on the box or bottle are ‘Take as required’. Five or ten years later I’m rooting through a drawer and find to my delight half a box which I’d completely forgotten about. But then a worrying thought arises. Is it still legal to have the drugs in my possession?

For 1)As far as I know, you should be fine anywhere in the US. I would imagine that if you couldn’t travel across the country with your meds, that would be a better known law. However, just for the hell of it, back when I was an injection med, I had my doctor write me a note when I was flying with vials and needles, just in case. Just seemed easier.

2)Years ago, in a thread I can’t find, I asked the same question. IIRC, the consensus was that the script was written to you, your name is on the bottle, the pills are yours, period. My argument against that was that the bottle also says Use Before/Discard After [one year after dispense date]. Now, I fully understand that that’s supposed to some type of expiration date and I have old decade old bottles with pills that work just fine (CII and CIII, so I know they’re still good). It just seemed that with all the laws and whatnot, if you were in an argument with a cop and trying to prove that the drugs were yours, they could just as easily say ‘but it says right here that you were supposed to get rid of this bottle 4 years ago so why are you still driving around with it’?

I was thinking about that thread a few months ago. Most people get prescribed Vicodin or Percocet for something over the course of their lives. ISTM that the people that are buying it off the street could keep their old bottles and keep refilling it. Yes, they’d have to match the brand, but if stopped by an officer and they find pills on them, they’d have a perfectly ‘legal’ reason to have them. If the bottle is no good after the expiration date, the officer wouldn’t have to buy their excuse that it’s for dental pain, when the person shows them a 12 year old Tylenol 3 bottle with the label mostly worn off and the person higher than you’d probably get from taking the 10 pills that were originally in the bottle.
Doing a different google search, sounds like the meds are yours forever and I’m not the first person to come up with the idea to refill your own pill bottle.

If the drug in question is marijuana, the answer is NO. My brother got into serious trouble when he got caught in Utah with a few ounces of MJ, the fact that he held a valid California prescription didn’t matter. If it wasn’t for his rich lawyer mother pulling strings on his behalf he would’ve been looking at jail time.

I’m in favor of marijuana legalization but a few ounces is dealing, not personal use.
There is no prescription for MJ in California, only a physician’s recommendation that allows the patient to buy at a dispensary.
It has no legal force outside of California.

You’ve obviously never met my brother; a few ounces for him is a weekend’s supply. :slight_smile:

True about the recommendation vs. prescription. And I don’t think there’s any other drugs where laws vary state to state, as they are regulated under federal law.

Maybe it’s grams, not ounces? I’d be stunned (and so would he) if he could go through several ounces in a weekend.

Here’s what various weights of MJ looks like.

“What is legal?” and “What might make for a difficult few hours at roadside & a local lockup?” are two very different questions.

Not looking like a druggie, not having an unusually large stash, having it in current and as-dispensed containers all go to reducing the second problem. Even though AFAIK there’s no plain language law that requires you to carry your legitimately obtained Percocet only in apparently-legit containers.

At least at the level of a roadside stop, we’re perilously close to a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality. Even if, given enough effort and money on your part, the traditional “innocent until proven guilty” operates as expected at your subsequent trial.

What the gentleman says. Now generally speaking (please don’t take this as legal advice), having a valid medical prescription to use a certain drug is usually sufficient top satisfy the authorities of your bona fides; but individual LEA might milage may vary.

If you are traveling or are in a position where it is possible you might realistically be searched, them you should have your paperwork in order and easily presentable. Save you hours or days of bother. “yes, officer, this is medically prescribed Marijuana, taking it for my pain management. Here is the script” is going to go a lot faster and easier than “hey Mom, could you put me in touch with Dr So-and-So who wrote my perscription, they have put me in lockup till I do”.

Generally if you bring the prescription drugs in the original container the pharmacist gave them to you in, and it has your name on it, then there should not be a problem (or a minimum of problems) when traveling.

If it is marijuana, LEAVE IT AT HOME! (Especially with the new attorney general who is opposed to marijuana.)

And never take anything other than what you were given by a regular pharmacy, especially foreign countries. If it is marijuana or similar, those drugs may be ILLEGAL in foreign countries. You may find yourself arrested! Leave them at home!

If you have questions, ask a qualified lawyer as to your best course of action and your doctor for alternatives if proper. Don’t go around playing lawyer and doctor.

I disagree; some of us buy in bulk for convenience and thrift.

True, but my take on the above posts is that if you do buy in bulk don’t for God’s sake take it on a road trip with you. :slight_smile:

Hm, what paperwork are you referring to? I have a prescription for opioid painkillers, but as far I recall, I don’t have the prescription itself on paper – I gave that to the pharmacist when I filled it. What paperwork are you suggesting that I carry if I travel with the painkillers?

The bottle it came in. It has all the info the police need.

My DIL says that her medical license entitles her to write prescriptions in any state in the US. Since MJ is still illegal throughout the country (state laws notwithstanding) this obviously doesn’t for that. I never asked her about legal narcotics.

When I was operated on for a broken ankle 12 years ago, they sent me home with 50 vicodin. They are still in my medicine cabinet, all 50.