HELP! Traffic Stop Cops Took all our RX meds

pulled over on traffic violation. all my prescriptions and my girlfriends were in the consol of my SUV. The police saw them and took them, they said they weren’t confiscating them they were holding them to check them out and all I needed to do was provide the pharmacy paperwork, we didn’t have anything we shouldn’t have, he didn’t give us any voucher or anything on what he took and how many, then he told me that all I needed to do was get the pharmacy documents and provide them, then i would get them back. So i ran around and got all of them, then the officer never met me, Furthermore they were counting the pills on back of the car and some were on the ground. This happened on Saturday and I still haven’t gotten anything back, they told me point blank they weren’t confiscating our pills, then when I called on Monday the seargant said they couldn’t give them back, they aren’t a pharmacy so they couldn’t dispense them. I called my Doctor and hers(same one for past 9 years) he said he would refill them as soon as this was wrapped up. Not sure what to do, It was 3 weeks worth of meds for both of us, I have been on them for over 6 years with no problems. Do I call the DA, Do I hire an attorney, HELP. I feel like the police robbed me.

Where are you?

Country (people on this board are all over the world), state, etc. Laws are different in many jurisdictions.

Since it was failed to be mentioned I’m going to guess that we are not talking about antibiotics.

In many cases citizen complaint procedures are laid out by law. You may even find the procedures on their website. Or if you don’t feel comfortable going to them go one step higher. If it’s local, go to the county. If it’s county go to the state. If it’s state police go to the attorney general’s office.

But quite frankly I think you’ll probably need a lawyer soon.

Drive better.

Since this a real-life legal question, we prefer it to be in IMHO rather than General Questions. Moved.

samclem, moderator

So, just to be clear, all of the pills taken were in their appropriate prescription bottles, with all the necessary information clearly visible on the bottles?

another topic that will make more sense once op tells the missing relevant details

I’ve been pulled over with pills in the car before (and they were pills a person could abuse if so inclined) and all I had to do was show that the information on the prescription bottle matched the information on my drivers license. That, and that the 'script was still valid.

Anyone notice this is the OP’s one and only post?

This is a real thing apparently, having Rx meds or cash confiscated at traffic stops and never returned. This isn’t the first I’ve heard about it. OP will need a lawyer but it will probably cost more than just replacing the meds.


And this is why, if you must carry “interesting” meds with you, you carry ONLY a couple of days’ worth, in a proper rx bottle. The pharmacy will give you an extra small bottle if you ask them for one, and the pharmacy will put a proper label on it. You keep the bulk of your “interesting” medication at home, in a lockbox.

Especially if you are young and/or appear to be lower-class and/or somehow not mainstream (i.e., lots of visible tattoos and piercings, any anti-establishment bumper sticker, etc.)

If you are in one of the categories above, it’s also a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor about the medications. Just in case.

My suggestion is to identify the jurisdiction and figure out who the boss is, so you know who to complain to, then send in a written complaint. There may be something on their website you can use, or other contact details, but make it quite specific what happened, and if you have the names of the Police involved even better.

if that gets you no where, escalate to the next level and maybe bring in the media. Local media would usually be happy to look at something like that.

I carry both morphine and oxycodone on my person in metal waterproof pill containers. I would say I probably have twenty to thirty of each of the pills. I carry this many as I take roughly eight a day and if something happens and I can’t get home for a few days I won’t be without my meds. I have worried about a traffic stop, so I have taken pictures of the prescription labels and have those on my phone.

I have heard you are supposed to keep the pills in their original containers, but my pills come 200-300 at a time. There is no way I’m carrying around 300 morphine pills at a time.

I, too, found out the hard way that you must carry drugs in their original containers, or they will be confiscated. I was in an accident, and my car was towed. I had OTC drugs, antibiotics, and prescription drugs for my bladder (Detrol) in a bottle that was labeled probably for something like Benadryl. While I was at the hospital getting stitches, the bottle was confiscated, and I was charged with “legend drugs,” with basically means unlabeled drugs, that could have been anything. Once it was verified that I was not on anything that contributed to the accident, and I provided prescriptions for the two Rx drugs I had (which don’t get you high), the ticket went away, but the combination of a bunch of unlabeled drugs, and a fairly bad accident, made the cops pretty sure they were on to something.

I ALWAYS have meds in labeled bottles now, even if it means I save an old bottle if I’m going to have to travel with stuff.

I once entered the U.S. with a bottle of antibiotic capsules for sinusitis. The customs offical opened one and watched the powder spill on to the clothes in my open suitcase. Then he did a second capsule the same way. I suppose he would have done the entire bottle if I hadn’t ask to see his supervisor.

My life is too tame to have much contact with law enforcement, but when I think about contacts in countries outside the U.S., what come to mind is times they’ve helped me. In the U.S. I’ve been hassled and wrongly incarcerated.

“Land of the free” is a great song lyric. How many of you imagine it has a basis in reality?

This is a very particular situation, where law enforcement has cause for checking out whatever medications you might have had. In a routine traffic stop, where there is no probable cause to suspect intoxication, how is a run-of-the-mill cop going to be qualified to look at someone’s medication and determine exactly what it is without a label, or that it should be labeled? “Legend drugs” just means “prescription drug,” and people put their prescription drugs in unlabeled containers all the time–in things like this pill organizer. I doubt there’s any state where this is actually illegal, including Texas, though apparently people in Texas get erroneously arrested and charged for it all the time.

What I was told, by a lawyer, is that you can use those organizers in your home, but don’t travel with them. After all, I didn’t know I was going to get into that accident. And there are times when you can legitimately be searched, for example, if you drop something while driving, and it makes you swerve over the center line, and you get pulled over for erratic driving-- something like this happened to a friend of mine when the lid came off the hot coffee she was drinking. If she had had visible pills in the center console, the police officer might have suspected intoxication.

You can also be searched legally in airports, so all your meds should be in properly labeled containers, even for a weekend trip.

Now that I know it can be a problem, I keep stuff in labeled containers, and have discovered it is not a hardship.

If I took morphine on a regular basis, I’d make sure I had two different bottles, one for travel, and one for the larger “stash” at home.

Ya know, I assumed this thread was spam or a joke when I first visited it.

Now I’m just scratching my head and thinking, “What the fuck World do these people live in?”

I guess its all relative. I also don’t understand how people can save “an average of $400 by switching car insurance” either.

Goddamn, I’m livin’ on the fringe…

I would bet that the people whose car was searched for a traffic stop were young and/or didn’t look “middle-class” – visible tats, piercings, etc. Or the car had something “anti-establishment” going on – it smelled like weed or it had bumper stickers that the cop didn’t agree with.

To those with a large number of pills – ask the pharmacy for a second, smaller bottle with a label on, so you can take a smaller number with you for midday dosing.

I never bothered with all of that with something like antibiotics, though. I must *really *look boring. TSA has never looked into the contents of my pill organizers.

This. Asset forfeiture laws have been used to seize cash from innocent drivers, who then must prove the cash wasn’t involved in drug crimes before it can be returned.

Drugs are less likely to be confiscated, unless they’re out in the open and in something other than their original, properly labeled RX bottle.

All of which leads back to “Never talk to cops.” Want to keep your meds/cash? Stash them somewhere out of sight in your car, and if you are involved in a traffic stop, do not answer questions about what you have in your car, and never, ever consent to a search. (hint: if your registration and proof of insurance are in your glovebox, don’t keep the aforementioned items in there; if the cop spots them when you open the glovebox, they may be fair game.)