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When is prescription medication use illegal?

Rather than utilize discreet methods of procuring illegal drugs in California, you may feel perfectly justified in asking friends and family about taking a few pills of their legal prescriptions. There is nothing wrong with this, right? It is not as bad as heroin, meth or other hard drugs.

Verywell Mind breaks down how using prescribed medication can result in an unintentional drug crime. Think twice before using legal prescriptions for back pain, to concentrate or to overcome anxiety.

Reasons for using prescription drugs

Maybe you do not seek to use prescription medication for physical or mental health purposes, but recreational purposes. Rather than take your chances on street drugs, which may be impure or contaminated, you decide it is safer to use medication prescribed by a doctor. One issue with this is that a person can become accidentally addicted to or dependent on powerful painkillers.

Drug laws are in place 

Likely, you do not research the latest federal and state drug laws in your free time. That means you probably are not aware of the “controlled substances” label for prescription medication. You should also know that a friend or family member’s physician may violate the latest drug laws. For instance, it is a crime for physicians to purposefully prescribe more pills than a prescription calls for.

Intent to distribute

Your friends or family member may give you a few pills in a small baggie for safekeeping. Under these circumstances, you can face an accusation of possession with intent to distribute. Law enforcement does not know whether you plan to sell or otherwise distribute the pills, putting you in a legal hot seat.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.