Prescription medications are made available after someone has a recommendation from their physician. They typically need to go to a pharmacy to pick up their medication, and they may have some degree of personal financial obligation to cover certain costs beyond what insurance will pay.
It is quite common for those prescribed medications in Texas to assume they can do whatever they want with those drugs once they have them in their possession. However, a significant portion of the drug charges pursued in Texas each year are the result of violations involving prescription medications, rather than infractions related to prohibited substances, like heroin. These are some of the medication-related behaviors that people might engage in that place them at risk of criminal prosecution.
Driving after taking medication
Motorists generally know that they cannot lawfully operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Fewer people realize that the state can and does prosecute people for operating a vehicle while under the influence of a prescription drug. Substances that affect cognition and muscle function, ranging from antidepressants and narcotic pain relievers to anti-epilepsy drugs, can affect someone’s ability to safely drive and could therefore result in impaired driving charges.
Transferring medication to others
Occasionally, people do not require every pill that they receive when filling a prescription and will have some left over when their symptoms subside. People may then consider either giving away or selling the leftover medication. Perhaps they have a co-worker who takes the same prescription, or their neighbor doesn’t have insurance and asks if they could purchase the remaining pills from someone’s old prescription. Even transfers without any financial gain can potentially trigger criminal consequences.
Transporting medication for others
The only time that it is legal for someone to handle and transport someone else’s prescription is when they pick it up from the pharmacy and it is still in the official packaging. Once someone opens a prescription or transfers it to a different packet, taking the medication into a public space or transporting it in a vehicle could very well lead to criminal charges. Officers will generally assume that someone intends to use that medication themselves or that they stole them even if they insist they just need to drop it off for a friend or family member at their place of employment because they forgot it at home.
Small mistakes, possibly made in an attempt to be kind to loved ones, can result in serious criminal charges. Learning more about the restrictions that apply to the use and possession of prescription medication can potentially help people to avoid drug charges in Texas.