Maybe your sister was in a car crash and needs you to pick up her prescription from the pharmacist because she can’t drive. Perhaps your spouse is at home recovering from a surgery and wants you to pick up a refill of their muscle relaxants or pain medication on the way home from work. You may even get a call to bring your spouse their medication at the office where they work.
Typically, pharmacists need to dispense medication to the person named on the prescription. However, individuals can make arrangements to have a family member or someone they trust, like a home health care worker, collect their medication from a pharmacy.
Picking up medication for your loved one or dropping their medicine off where they currently stay may seem like a small favor for someone in need. However, if you handle the process improperly, it could result in criminal charges.
You cannot possess open medication prescribed to someone else
It is sometimes legal to have medications still in the sealed packaging provided by the pharmacy even if the medication is not in your name. You can pick up your loved one’s prescription and transport it to them without much fear of criminal accusations in most cases.
However, if your loved one has already opened the medication or if you open it to check and make sure that everything is present, then the situation enters a legal gray area. The possibility exists for you to encounter law enforcement. If that happens, the officer may assume that your possession of someone else’s open medication is an indicator that you intend to distribute that medication or misuse it yourself.
Prescription drug abuse is very common
Although you may have the permission of your loved one and only want to do something for their benefit, police officers may suspect the opposite. They may believe that you intend to misuse that medication and that you may have even stolen it from the person who holds the prescription. Such criminal activity is unfortunately very common, and many controlled substances on the unregulated market are there because people steal the medication from someone with a prescription.
Properly securing the medication and having written documentation of your intent can reduce your risk of facing drug charges over running an errand to help a family member.