What Happens to You if You Get Caught With Presciptions Drugs Crossing the Border

My wife wants to go to Mexico to get some pain killers for her back. I tell her it is probably not worth doing(you know the chance getting caught in all)

So what happens if you get a prescription in Mexico for pain pills(cost 10) and then get caught crossing the border with them?

Do they make you just throw them away or do they arrest you or what? And then what happens to you in court?

Just one more question what about steroids not saying I want to do them or anything just curious?( I don’t even think you need a presciption for them they are sold over the counter in Mexico)

btw This is the Texas border I’m talking about.

Bump it up one more time. I can’t believe nobody knows this with so many people doing it.

Eh, it’s not that nobody knows anything, Bill, it’s just that legally, we aren’t allowed to say, “Oh, yeah, sure, I go through from Nuevo Laredo all the time, here’s how you do it.”

All I’m gonna say is, here’s the DEA home page. Maybe this is something you should find out for yourself. :wink:





I suggest you read the second one carefully.

I was in Mexico about four months ago for vacation and I remember hearing a lot about this. Although customs was pretty lax coming back in I don’t think I would have the guts to try it. From my understanding you will be arrested, what happens after that I don’t know.

Well, avoiding the question of how to smuggle drugs into the U.S., let me ask about the legality of purchasing drugs that are prescription in the U.S., but over-the-counter in another country, and bringing them back into the U.S.

In Canada, Claritin and Allegra are sold over-the-counter in drug stores and supermarkets. In the U.S., you can only get these by prescription. Is it legal to buy Allegra in, say Toronto, and bring it back to my home in the U.S.? Is there a limit on how much I could buy and bring back? Let’s say I’m on a business trip in Toronto and suffer a major hayfever attack. I purchase some Allegra at a local supermarket, but since I am only there for a few days, I consume just a small number of the dosages in the package. Would I be breaking the law by bringing the unused portion back to the U.S.? What if I bought several packages of Allegra and brought them back? Is that legal?

Thanks for the cites but I am still not understanding I guess. How can they arrest you if you have a prescription from a doctort in Mexico for a pain pills say like percadan(sp)

Also apply the same to steroids. A doctor’s precription too.

I mean afterall this is a doctor of medicine. Does the US not care because the drug lobby is paying some senator somewhere.

I mean why should they arrest you?

Bill- I assumed (and maybe so did others) that you were talking about drugs that you couldn’t get a prescription for. If you’re going to go to all the trouble of getting a doctor in Mexico to write a scrip, just get a doctor here to do it.

Find Dr. Feelgood in your town. Dr. Feelgood is the doctor who will write any scrip you ask him/her to. They are easy to find. I found one at my local walk-in clinic (AFTER I got sober, dammit). At the end of the appointment, I said casually “By the way, ny prescription for Claritin just ran out, could you write me another one?” And he did.

Also, I have to ask again- first the exercise thread, then the diet thread, now steroids- class reunion coming up or something?



You ought a be a detective or something. My reunion doesn’t come up until next September. But I want to look the best that I ever have this Spring Break and Summer. I guess I’m going through my “crazies” early in life.

Heck I even wear my hair combed(sp) to the front and flipped up at the end.(kinda of like the “Friends” style or something) Freaking out little about getting so I thought if I am ever going to look good it better be now(been told I still look 28 though :smiley: )

Am I shallow?

I believe it’s legal to bring “small” amounts of foreign drugs into the US (providing they’re not controlled substances according to the DEA), IIRC from the current issue of Consumer Reports magazine (which has an article about buying drugs over the internet from foreign countries). This is mainly for travelers, as in the situation Kepi described.

I suppose the legal meaning of “small” would be up to the discretion of the judge, if you were actually arrested and prosecuted by a DA. My WAG is that a half-filled bottle of pain meds would be OK (again, barring DEA interest), but a suitecase full of sealed bottles wouldn’t be OK.


Following up on what Arjuna24 suggested, I live in San Diego and it is VERY common for people to head across the border for all but the most serious narcotic drugs. In fact, the local throw-away paper (The Reader) had a whole issue devoted to it a few months back that showed direct price comparisons for drugs at Mexico pharmacies versus a Rite-Aid.

Mexican pharmaceuticals (and yes, they ARE the same drug) came in at about 1/3 to 1/2 the price in almost all cases and substantially cheaper for antibiotics (sometimes 1/5 the price). The law allows you to bring back enough drugs for ‘personal use’ usually defined as a 30-day supply for most drugs, and longer for things such as birth control pills. No prescription is needed.

Narcotics can be purchased as well, but require a perscription from either an American or Mexican doctor, and again, are much more restricted in terms of what is considered ‘personal use’. I know it’s not a 30 day supply but I don’t know what it is. The Mexican pharmacy would know, however. Most Mexican pharmacies have on site doctors that can write the scripts for $10-$50 dollars additional depending on what’s needed.

I have often thought it would be a great business to have people send in orders over the Internet, and have a long series of homeless people going back and forth across the border bringing in a ‘personal supply’ each to fill the orders.

Antibiotics are “OTC” in Mexico. A long time ago- when I went down there I would stock up. One time, they actually went thru my bags a bit. They found 2 largish jars of antibiotics. The Agent threw the opened one back in, but tossed the sealed one into a bin- remarking causally “that’s too much”. There was no accusing or threats, apparently it happens all the time. (Note I was also being mostly polite). Thus, an amount that might well have been purchased for use while down there, but was not finished- is more or less OK- but more than that is “too much”. Note- when asked what I was bringing across the Border- I always replied “The usual tourist junk”- they really hate it when you lie. So, a half-used bottle of painkillers might be acceptable as “the usual tourist junk”- but a suitcase full would get you arrested. True, they might confiscate your bottle- but as long as you were not lying or taking enuf to sell- they would likely let you go.
Kepi- this likely applies to claratin & allegra also. So, in your case- I would think a half-used bottle is fine, and one more full one is slightly pushing it. Beyond that- Nope.

WB- if you actually has a 'script from a Mexican MD, you could get away with more- but a script would not let you bring in too much for personal consumption, or certain “scheduled” narcotics. I also recommend to NOT use steroids- they make “Mr Happy” shrink- and what is the use of looking good- if you can’t perform?

Ejgirl- Claratin here in the USA costs about a dollar a pill- I think in OTC Canada it is about half that.

Okay, I’ve done this. While working in Mexico (and living there as a result), I routinely brought drugs back to the USA via Houston or via Dallas (airports, obviously).

FWIW, my bags were never, ever checked.

However, I was always honest and declared things like drugs, tobacco, and alcohol (and even over the limit didn’t get assessed any duties).

On one occassion (having declared the drug) I was asked for a prescription. In Mexico, you really only need “true” prescriptions for narcotics, otherwise the “reseta” is really only a shopping list – you don’t give it to the pharmacist. All I had was the pseduo-prescription given to me by the plant nurse (not even a doctor), and it worked well enough. Had I a “real” prescription - American or otherwise, it would have been even MORE credible.

This was for an antibiotic that according to my Mayo CD was controlled in the USA. Granted, it wasn’t a narcotic, but you DO need a real prescription to buy those anyway, so you’ll have no problems.

You may have to pay duties – I don’t know, but if you’re honest and reasonable, they don’t usually bother.

My parents go to canada specifically to buy prescription drugs. On their last trip they claimed they saved 500$. I’m sure they think it’s legal, I don’t know if it is or not but it’s very common for people living along the border to make such trips.

I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I will give some “what not to do” tips:

  1. [Fight Club]DO NOT talk about bringing back drugs.[/Fight Club] :slight_smile:

  2. [Fight Club]DO NOT talk about bringing back drugs.[/Fight Club] :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

  3. DO NOT bring any drugs, OTC or prescription, back without declaring at customs. If you look hinky (and you will, if you are a virgin smuggler), you will be searched, they will find what they are looking for, and you will be in a world of shit.

  4. DO NOT bring anything back that is Schedule II. It will probably be seized when you declare it, unless you have a proper US prescription.

  5. DO NOT open the bottles/packages before clearing customs. Open bottles/packages will not be allowed through customs and will be seized.

Uh, guys, it’s really not a good idea to just randomly stock up on antibiotics, since they work so strange. That way, you often build up an immunity to them, and your own immune system can be weaker at fighting things off.

Why don’t you just order them off the internet. There are hundreds of sites. Just get a P.O. Box and use a phoney name.

My real question is how well regulated are Mexican or other foreign pharmacies. How do I know the “allegra” I get is 100% allegra and not 50% allegra and 50% corn starch

I have elderly aunts who travel to Algodones, Mexico, across the border from Yuma. They purchase both generic and brand name drugs and enjoy the trip as well as the savings.

Here’s a site that details bringing prescribed drugs back from both Mexico and Canada:


RE: “Why don’t you just order them off the internet. There are hundreds of sites. Just get a P.O. Box and use a phoney name. My real question is how well regulated are Mexican or other foreign pharmacies. How do I know the “allegra” I get is 100% allegra and not 50% allegra and 50% corn starch?”

Precisely. What quality assurance processes are there to ensure the purity/quality/efficacy of Mexican-produced pharmaceuticals? Can we really believe the packaging?

Another concern of mine regarding the Tijuana pharmacies I’ve seen is they are rarely air-conditioned–and Tijuana in summer can get hot. Moreover, I’ve seen huge Rx displays stacked up with the sun beating down on the whole, er, enchilada. Both conditions would obviously degrade the the Rx.

The Rx prices quoted on the Internet for Mexican pharmacies SEEMS substantially higher than what you pay in person. If you know of rock-bottom prices, please provide a link.

According to my soon-to-be-Mexican-Dentist wife, the government strictly regulates ALL patent medications, but they kind of have the same deal going as we do with “natural” products (in other words, buyer beware). You should stick to brand names, and if you read the box, they’re the same pharmaceutical companies that we’re all familiar with here. The stuff is good if it’s sold in Mexican stores.

As per buying the stuff in Tijuana, why not just go to a professional, air-conditioned, Sanborn’s? The prices are still good, it’s a reputable chain (American-style to boot), and they’ll have most of the drugs you need (Grupo Sanborn’s recently bought most of CompUSA - wonder if it’ll be CompMEXICO soon?)

If you don’t want to go to Sanborn’s, there are other professional farmácias with normal amenities such as interior climate control. The whole country’s not backwards despite the movies we see.