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Is using medicine without a prescription a crime?

Prescription drugs are used for a multitude of purposes, from fighting off infections to reducing pain. While they are legal when used in the correct manner by the person with the prescription, use by unauthorized individuals for other purposes is not legal and can actually get you in trouble with the law. Very Well Mind explains the ramifications of using drugs without a prescription.

For the prescription holder, it’s crucial that medicine is kept in the correct bottle or packaging, especially when being taken outside your home. In many states, it’s actually considered illegal to carry drugs in other types of packaging that doesn’t bear the label of the original prescription bottle. This can be construed as possession with intent to distribute, which can have very stiff penalties depending on the circumstances.

Providing drugs to others is also not allowed, no matter what type of packaging you use. Even if your intentions are good, it’s never acceptable to give another person medication that was prescribed to you. In the first case, this medication could cause a severe reaction which could gravely harm the person. Also, it can cause legal problems for you if the person is caught with the medication and points to you as the provider.

Doctors can also get in trouble for how they provide prescriptions. For instance, if a doctor prescribes more pills than necessary, he or she could be accused of a crime. It could be alleged that the doctor did so in order for the patient to sell the pills to others, especially if it can be proven that the size of prescription is not medically necessary.


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