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Can you get in trouble for giving someone your prescription pill?

You may have faced this situation a few times in your life. You are terrified of flying but forgot to get your anti-anxiety prescription refilled before your trip, so a friend offers to give you a couple of her pills to calm you down. Or, your brother is suffering from an ear infection but doesn’t have medical insurance. You have some antibiotics left over from a bronchial infection, which you give to your brother. You and others in New Jersey may not realize that you can be committing a crime by sharing or receiving prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you or those you share them with.

Prescription drugs are controlled substances that are legally valid only for the person the prescription was written for. You may not know that a drug you can take safely may have dangerous reactions in someone else, which is why doctors write prescriptions based on patients’ medical histories and unique health issues. Others can become dependent on certain medications, such as opioid painkillers, making it necessary for these medications to be strictly prescribed and monitored by physicians.

The penalties for sharing drugs without a prescription can vary, states FindLaw. For example, you might face a fine or light jail sentence for giving a few of your antidepressants to a friend. Those who forge prescriptions or sell pills to others face harsher penalties, including significant prison time.

Some actions, like sharing medication to help a friend or family member, mean you can be unwittingly committing a crime. This information is meant to educate you, but should not substitute for legal advice.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
514 Brick Boulevard, Suite 6
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