Drug test and the law

If you receive and have filled a prescription for 18 hydrocodone/apap 10-500mg with no refills remaining, with the directions to take 1 tablet by mouth every 3-6 hours as needed, how long after receiving and filling the prescription do you legally have to take the medication?

I would think at least until the “expires” or “discard after” date which IIRC is one year. But, I’d guess as long as you have the bottle with your name on it you’d be in the clear.

Thanks, it has no expiration date.

Really, I thought all prescription bottles had some sort of a “discard after/expires/use by” type date on them. If there’s really is no date on them, on theory, I’d think you’d be in the clear* no matter how long it’s been.

Of course this is assuming a cheap employment type drug test. And all the employer is going to get back is a result that says you tested positive of opiate/opioids and that’s it. Or, you’re actually been taking the pills according to the script.

If the test goes more in depth (or it’s more then just pass/fail), the bottle might not cover you. For example, if you’ve actually been taking 10 15mg Oxycodones for the last week, your levels are going to be much higher then expected. Or if you’ve been shooting heroin and they decide to send you back in for a more expensive test, they’ll be able to tell the difference.

Also, you originally asked about “drug test and the law” if this is about something other then a pre-employment drug test and you’re looking for something more law related, I’m sure someone else will be along to help better then I can.

It is a random work-related 5 panel urine quick test. It tested positive for opiates. A split sample will also be sent to the lab. Unsure of the type of test being administered there. The prescription was filled 02/07/11. The pills have only been taken periodically since then. No other drugs, legal or illegal, have been taken. I still have 5 remaining from the original 18.

Without knowing the rules of your workplace, I assume you’ll be fine as long as you show them the bottle to prove you were taking the drugs legally.
Of course I don’t have any knowledge of your workplace’s rules WRT to (legally obtained and used) prescription narcotics.

Thanks again.

Are you asking about a situation where you get a legal prescription for narcotics that your doctor tells you are supposed to be take over specified amount of time as part of a treatment regimen, but you want save some for later, whether it is legal to do so? That’s a question for IMHO, IMHO.

It is a legal prescription and I have been taking them on an “as needed” basis, per the directions on the scrip. Just happened to be selected for a random drug test this morning after taking 2 pills yesterday. Therefore, I tested positive for opiates.

Did you report that you had taken the drug while you were taking the drug test?
The few times that I had to pee in the jar, we had to fill out a questionnaire specifically asking what drugs I had taken in the last however long. You also had to tell them the strength, dosage, how long you were taking it etc. If you did that, you should be clear, if you didn’t better get someones ear in HR to get your butt covered.
If the condition was short term, and should be done with, you may have problems.
If the condition was chronic or recurring, you might do well to call your Dr. and get a note for the drugs.

This is an interesting question. Does a prescription give you the rest of your life to use these drugs legally? What if they’re marked to use as needed? I hope someone does address the legal questions here.

That’s really unusual. All the medications I’ve ever had (which included hydrocodone) had an expiration date. I have a hard time believing a doctor gave you a supply of hydrocodone that theoretically you can use ten years from now.

And you really shouldn’t be getting advice over serious medical and legal issues from an online message board.

I worked in H/R and you are supposed to declare any prescription meds you are on that way they can tell.

I checked my old prescriptions filled at Walmart and none of them have exp dates on them. The bottle of samples my doctor gave me have an expiration date on it.

I don’t think this is a legal question. I’m not aware of any laws that say you are required to take any medication that is prescribed within a certain time period. Also, company drug tests are not legally mandated. They may be a condition your employer has put on your being able to work there. So your best bet is to be open and honest with your employer about your prescription and when you last took the meds.

Legally - if you are in legal possession of the drugs, you are legal. There’s no rules I ever heard of that specify limits. Besides, if you have a jar of “good” pills sitting around a year later, I’m guessing you are not an addict compelled to take them. The fun part would be proving the pills in the bottle belong to the bottle and were the ones issued. But, it would be up to the DA to prove they are not. Are the pills themselves marked with batch/date?

With your employer - different case. What are their rules? If you are “operating heavy machinery” or such, do you have a duty to report when you are impaired? Do their own HR rules require you to mention any problem prescriptions ahead of time?

If the pills are too old, maybe the HR people will question if you have seen the doctor and renewed the diagnosis. They may also question whether a much older bottle with some pills in it really is what you claim it to be. A prescription 3 or 6 months ago they might accept, but a bottle of pills from 2 or more years ago might be seen as you trying to pull a fast one on them. They certainly aren’t going to spend a fortune on lab tests to prove the pills are what you say they are…

The moral of the story is that, at least in the USA, if they think you are a problem it’s simpler to can your ass than to deal with an on-going problem. In most states, that doesn’t cost them very much…

There are really two separate questions here. One is whether it’s legal to possess a prescription narcotic outside of the time frame of the prescription. I don’t know what state you are in or what the specific laws are, but in general, I would think that you are probably in the clear at 38 days out. But you can’t just hold on to them forever. Otherwise, addicts would simply use a once valid RX as a free pass forever.

But the real question you are asking is whether a failed test is going to get you in to trouble at work, and that’s a two-part question. If you were asked to disclose any drugs in your system and you didn’t, you might get into trouble. This is the question I presume you are asking. A note from your doctor will help, and if I were you I’d get one before the test results come back.

If you have a job where drug use is banned even with a prescription (say, an airline pilot), then having a valid RX isn’t going to help.