What is the proper procedure for traveling with prescription meds, etcetera?

Except that the legislators haven’t made the ridiculous assertion that you’re required to carry prescription medicine in the bottle that it originally came in at all times under penalty of jail or death or whatever.

Your “cite” is:
A) proposed changes in drug laws
B) non-applicable to the subject at hand.

No, your thoughts were that it was illegal. Don’t backpedal.

I just e-mailed my father to get his answer. I’ll post it when it comes.


There you have it. It’s just easier to have the labelled container.


FWIW, I have a zippy pouch in my backpack/laptop case that has my glucometer, test strips, lancets, docs note, cd of scanned medical records, when i was on meds the right meds, yuckky glucose tabs - for the diabetes. If i am on any other meds, I get a docs letter, the meds in the original bottles, and the little msds sheets that the navy pharmacy hands out with the meds. I also have another glucometer, bulk lancets, bulk test strips, additional docs notes, cd of medical records and meds in bottles in my main suitcase.

Being a military dependant [ok, now retired military dependent =)] I can actually just go to any american military establisment and get taken care of, and just in case I have the scanned copy of my medical records=)

[but then again, I also have a compete change of clothing in my backpack in case my suitcase goes astray=) I love microfiber, it packs so well!]

Most pharmacies, given a reasonable heads-up, can supply the customer with a “blister pack” of meds: each dosage time is then sealed in its own compartment, and the seal is easily broken by the consumer when needed. Blister packs carried in luggage are readily accepted when traveling internationally, and they are convenient to boot.

That’s crazy! You need that medication, and taking it from you would endanger your life!

He could actually do something like that? Why the heck wouldn’t a prescription be enough?

I could see it happening for just syringes, but with the whole kit right there, I think he was overreacting a bit.

Actually my questions were about legalities yes, but we all know there are “Barney Fife” cops who will enforce the letter of the law, not the spirit. This is why I was asking, for a “worst case scenario” so I know how to pack should I ever leave the state someday on vacation. MsRobyn’s dad points out you could get hassled by cops if you don’t have the prescription with you, which is the impression I had been under. In fact, her dad said, “you have to have the form or else”. Note, that I pointed out the label on the medicine bottle is in fact a legal document, and counts as the prescription when presented to the police.

For the same reason other airline “security” abuses exist. He either didn’t like me, had a shitty day, or just had a raging phallocentric urge to show me that He was Da Man. Give most people any sense of “power” at all and they corrupt under its influence.

Didn’t add, I realize that the cite I provided was a legislative proposal. However, it does illustrate what the mindset of the legeislators in at least one state (probably more) is regarding this topic. And, after digging, it seems that in fact any drug that is dispensed by a pharmacy is considered a controlled substance. Here are excerpts that can be read to mean just that. Does anyone know firsthand if this is how they are interpreted? In any case, they could be, and you could wind up in trouble because of it.

from here.


Bolding mine.

Section 502 covers misbranding of drugs.

from this site. Here is a link to theFDA site.

MsRobyn would you please verify that this is how the law is enforced with your dad?

ZC, you just can’t stand being wrong, can you?

No, it reveals the mindset of ONE legislator, specifically the one who sponsored the bill, and the PA board of Pharmacy. And it

No, they state that controlled substances must only be dispensed by prescription. We knew that. You’ve got it backwards. I expected that.

And there are cops who will exercise authority that they don’t have at all. For the nth time THERE IS NO SUCH LAW! THERE IS NOTHING LIKE ANY SUCH LAW! THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT VAGUELY RESEMBLING SUCH A LAW! YOU’RE WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

And while we’re at it, “Controlled Substance” has a specific meaning in U.S. drug law, and it isn’t “prescription drug.” There is a specific legal term for “prescription drug” – it’s “prescription drug.”

(Why am I bothering? “…the gods themselves…”

I am an RN so I do some point of reference in regards to prescription meds. Forget about proposed legislations, worst possible scenerios and “what would be nice”. Although I am having a hard time following your train of thought, I assume you are proposing that Indygrrl did something illegal by carrying several prescription medications combined in one pill container. She did not.

Your embolded quote refers to dispensing medications (which she is not doing) and refilling prescriptions (not applicable).

Although SOME PEOPLE (myself not included) may feel it is politically incorrect for her to derive some satisfaction in the fact that the thief may suffer some discomfort due to THEIR poor judgment and illegal behavior, it is not ILLEGAL for her to feel this way. This is a very common sentiment, it’s called being hoisted by your own petard.

Zabali_Clawbane, all your exerpts deal with drug handling and dispensing in pharmacy and have nothing to do with the handling of such drugs after dispensing. They are from the Pennsylvania and DEA codes that regulate pharmacists and other licensed dispensers of drugs. Not one has any bearing on how a patient carries their duly prescribed and dispensed medication.

Bolded part refers to dispensing by a licensed practitioner, not carrying or transporting of the drugs by the patient. “Implementing regulations” are those detailing procedures regarding controlled substances listed in schedule II, III, IV, or V of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and other portions of the Act. Section 503 specifically applies to packaging and labeling prior to the patient receiving the drug.

Again, the term controlled substances is very narrowly defined to be those named in the above act:

You may interpret the statutes whatever way you choose. That does determine whether a patient’s handling of their own medications is done in a legal manner.

Am I the only person to whom it seems obvious that laws and regulations that apply to flying over international waters are not necessarly applicable to walking two blocks to your office in the morning?

Really - I can’t be the only person, can I?

I mean, I’m not allowed to take fruit accross the boarder in the US, but I’ve never once been busted by a produce cop for having a banana in my purse enroute to my office.

Zabali, I’m not sure what you’re asking.

What my dad said was, “You need either the original bottle with prescription label or a doctor’s written prescription.” Period. No interpretation required.

As long as you have one or the other in your possession while travelling, you basically are safe. Even if you don’t happen to have one on you and you get hassled or busted by the police, as long as you have a valid prescription, your doctor can fax it to the police, who will have to release you.

That said, there are so few occasions where security guards or cops give a damn anyway. My mother and Una were hassled because they were carrying syringes. Junkies use syringes, therefore, my mom and Una are junkies. I’ve known people who have legitimate uses for narcotics for pain management. They’re used to having police attention focused on them; they carry a doctor’s letter. I’d be hard-pressed to think of any cop who would willingly waste his time pursuing a case he can’t win. Those are what cops and security are interested in. They don’t care about Grandpa’s heart pills unless they can’t be identified.


MsRobyn Thank you, that is the impression I was under. That while it’s not “legal” to carry prescription medicines without having some form of prescription on you, it’s not likely you will be hassled over it. Also that, it’s better to carry the prescriptions with you when traveling inside the U. S., (of course you likely need them when going abroad for extended periods) than to go through the potential hassling.

I was wondering this because I myself have done this thing before, but was told by my dad’s friend (a retired cop, a mild “Barney Fife”) that it wasn’t strictly legal, and that you could get hassled over it. He did it in a paternal manner, not wanting me to get hassled unecessarily. The other threads made me wonder, and finally ask what the letter of the law was so I could piece together what the best way to travel interstate with the least potential for hassle would be.

To recap, just to be certain all the points are clarified. While it’s not strictly legal to carry prescription medicines on your person without the prescription, you aren’t likely to be hassled over it, and if you are, all that needs to be done is have your physician fax over the prescription proving you were in legal possion of the drugs to obtain your release. So, you can be detained over it, until you prove your innocence. If you cannot prove the medicines were lawfully prescribed, you will be prosecuted for illegal possession of a controlled substance, however the state may word it. That is what I had thought. That said, why risk such a hassle at all? I think I’ll carry the bottles with me from now on, to be safe if I travel interstate.

On a side note, this thread pertains to Indygrrl’s situation because she can now point out to her boss that the thief is illegally possessing a controlled substance, which is a serious crime. This ought to persuade the boss to take action to catch the perpertrator. If she informs her boss of this problem, and the boss does nothing, I’d think she could go through other legal channels to get help. This is a serious matter that needs police intervention.

Gee, those sound the same to me… :rolleyes:

To recap, according to MsRobyn’s father, you must have a prescription for any prescription medicine you posess (gee, who’da thunk it?). If you don’t have the prescription or the original bottle on your person, you might be hassled by the police until such time as you can produce one, though it doesn’t appear as if it’s illegal to not carry the prescription or bottle on you (else the police would not “have to release you” once the prescription is produced as MsRobyn’s father said).

Look, I get the feeling you don’t like me much Garfield226. That is your right. Do you think you could be more adult, and less petty though? Was I incorrect in my summation? No. It seems to me a big purpose behind your post, was to be rude and sneer at me. That’s not the best debating technique.

The reason I posted the OP, is because many people, including me have traveled interstate with all of their medicines for the trip in one container, with no prescriptions. This can lead to getting hassled by the police and detained until you can prove you have been prescribed each one of the medicines. It’s more wise in the end to just pack all of the pill bottles instead of risk such a hassle. The cops aren’t likely going to know what each medicine is by look, so they could think it was some form of drug that is popularily abused.

No, it is not illegal to carry prescription drugs in a container other than that in which they were dispensed. The faxing of a prescription to show you have legal possesion of such drugs would not absolve you if your stipulation were true; you would still be subject to fine or other sanction. While having the bottle or written copy can certainly make your life easier if questioned regarding the drugs, you are only required to prove legal possession.

I would like some cites, please, supporting your continued assertion that carrying prescription drugs without the prescribing information is not legal. Or “legal,” as you put it.

I think the laws were put into place to help catch people like Courtney Love who had pain pills, but apparently wasn’t prescribed them. I think it depends on the type of drugs, and whether or not the person can prove they were in legal possession of them. I don’t think they’d bother fining you after you prove you were in legal possesion. Again, why risk the bother of being detained until you can prove you had the medicine legally? In other words, I don’t think they enfoce the law much, and once you prove you have been prescribed the medicines I think they back off. The fact that people who posted here have been hassled has caused me to decide to just pack all the pill bottles if I’m going to travel far enough away that I’ll need more than a day’s worth of medicine.

Zabali, I think that all the info posted in this thread already makes it pretty clear that the only law is that you can’t take prescription drugs without a prescription. Keeping the pills in the original bottle isn’t a legal requirement, it’s just a practical suggestion.