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Is sharing your pain medication with a friend or relative legal?

Most people have the idea that black market deals for prescription pills probably take place in seedy doctors' offices or the backseat of a drug dealer's car.

They're actually more likely to take place right in your living room.

Studies indicate that 71 percent of the people who use pain medication for reasons other than actual pain are getting the pills from their own friends and family. The vast majority of the time, 55 percent, they even get them for free.

But what if you happen to have a couple Percocet or a few oxycontin left around from your last surgery and your brother or your best friend is actually in pain after wrenching his back at work? If you give him the pills for a legitimate need, all you're doing is saving your relative or friend a costly trip to the doctor's office and the price of a prescription when you have the stuff just sitting around and available for free. Surely there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

Actually, there is. No matter what the reason, sharing your narcotics makes you guilty of drug dealing and can open you up to felony charges that could land you behind bars for up to seven years.

Aside from being legally risky, it's also medically risky to share your pills with someone else. What was prescribed for you was prescribed with a doctor's careful consideration of your medical history, including your age, weight, general health and history of drug allergies. You can't know for certain that your friend or relative is safe taking something that was prescribed for you, which means that both of you are taking a big risk by passing that pill. There have been cases where people have been prosecuted after giving drugs to friends or relatives who overdosed as a result.

There are other potential concerns as well. If your friend or relative transports the drugs from your house to theirs and happens to get pulled over on the way home for erratic driving, you can bet that the pills are going to be discovered. Depending on the quantity, both of you could end up facing charges of drug possession or drug trafficking.

The wise choice is to avoid the problem altogether by keeping your pills for your own use. If you've made a mistake, however, an attorney who handles drug crime defenses can help.

Source: Addiction.com, "Before You Share That Pain Medication…," Mary Jane Horton, accessed Dec. 29, 2016

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