Over the years, I have come to realize that while many Floridians take some form of prescribed medication, few people understand prescription drug laws and the consequences for breaking them. Here are 3 things you should know about your prescription drugs.
1. You cannot possess prescription drugs without a prescription.
Duh. Well that seems like common sense, but often when we have a headache or backache or some other former of ailment, our friends and loved ones offer us a few of their prescription drugs thinking that they are being helpful. They are not. In most cases, if you are caught with one of those prescription drugs, you will be charged with a felony. And if you are adjudicated guilty, you will not only become a convicted felon, but you will also lose your drivers license for a period of 6 months to 2 years.
2. If you have a prescription and your friend has the same prescription, you cannot share.
Often, people who take prescription pills will band together and create some sort of pill bank. When I am out of pills, I will take some of yours and when I refill and you are out, you can have some of mine. This is not legal! In fact, if you are not a doctor or pharmacy writing or filling a legal prescription and you share your pills, you can be charged with sale or delivery of a controlled substance -even if you never take money for your pills. In Florida’s 19th Circuit, the State Attorney’s Office has a standard policy of seeking a minimum of 6 months in jail and a felony conviction for anyone guilty of sale or delivery of a controlled substance.
3. It is good practice to keep your prescription pills in your clearly marked prescription bottle.
When you buy prescription medications, they come in a bottle. Keep them in there. If you have any contact with a police officer and he finds out you have prescription pills on you but no prescription bottle or paperwork, you are probably going to go to jail. Usually a good defense lawyer can get the case dismissed if you can show proof of the valid prescription at a later date, but that won’t prevent you from taking the ride downtown and posting a bond to get released.
Know the law, your rights and your obligations when it comes to your prescription pills. Ignorance is no defense, and the consequences of a felony arrest can be a tough pill to swallow.