Possession of Prescription Drugs Not Prescribed to You: Consequences

If your loved one complains about having back pain or insomnia, you might think nothing about offering them one of your oxycodone or Valium pills to help them feel better. However, using someone else’s prescriptions or giving medication your doctor prescribed you to another person is dangerous and illegal.

Tennessee Prescription Drug Laws

Tennessee law regulates all controlled substances, which includes legal prescription medications like opioids and benzodiazepines. To prevent abuse of these drugs, Tennessee has criminalized the possession of any controlled substance without a valid prescription.

Criminal drug offenses for casual exchange, delivery, sale and possession with intent also apply to prescription drugs classified as controlled substances. For example, giving a family member or friend a few of your prescription pain or sleeping pills could lead to a criminal charge for casual exchange. Though casual exchange is typically a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, a conviction may result in penalties of up to one year in jail, a monetary fine, community service and mandatory substance abuse treatment. Delivering, selling or intending to deliver or sell prescription drugs are more serious felony charges.

The Dangers of Prescription Medications

In addition to the legal consequences of using someone else’s prescription medication, there are also health ramifications – including chemical dependence.

Many people believe the misconception that prescription drugs are always safe to use because they have earned FDA approval. Though medicine obtained from a doctor or pharmacist has a far different public perception than buying an illicit drug from a dealer, it is still illegal and dangerous to take a medication that isn’t yours.

As harmless as it might seem to share prescription drugs, many people start abusing prescription drugs after obtaining them from someone else’s supply. Taking someone else’s medication puts you at risk for accidental overdose, seizures, heart palpitations, allergic reactions, organ damage, stroke, coma and other severe medical issues.

Protect Your Medications

Keeping old or expired medications around your house could pose a significant health and safety issue if children, pets or other adults living in your household accidentally ingest them. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to call attention to this issue and encourage people to clean out their medicine cabinets.

If you find an unused prescription or over-the-counter medication in your home, contact your physician or pharmacist and ask them how to dispose of it. Another option for getting rid of old medications is to find a drug take-back location near you, which may be a location like a pharmacy or police station where someone will safely destroy your remaining supply. Contact the DEA Diversion Control Division Registration Call Center at 800-882-9539 to learn more about these collection sites.

Recovering From Prescription Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one needs accredited help for prescription drug abuse in Tennessee, Cumberland Heights is here for you. Our comprehensive continuum of care will put you on the road to lifelong recovery. We transform lives with individualized treatment plans and compassionate solutions that account for your unique needs, including co-occurring disorders. Contact us today to learn more.