Laws Against Sharing Prescription Drugs With a Friend

By Cynthia Clark
Prescription drugs are labeled for use by the paitient, and are not to be shared with others.
medicines and drugs image by Albert Lozano from <a href=''></a>

Sharing prescription drugs with a friend is more than what the Oregon Health and Science University:describes as a "recognized health issue." Sharing prescription drugs can be dangerous or fatal. For this reason, federal law prohibits the sharing of prescription drugs with family or friends.

The Law

Federal and state laws govern the use, sale and distribution of prescription drugs. The Controlled Substances Act of Title 21 Food and Drug Administration U.S. Code 13 for Drug Abuse Prevention and Control is the national regulation, which the states adhere to. According to the 1986 Subsection of. Pub. L. 99-570 to "knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance" not lawfully obtained from a doctor could lead to a year in prison or a $5,000 fine, or both on a first conviction. The penalty for a second offense doubles the penalties.

Prescription sharing includes not only the actual sharing of a prescription drug, but also the theft and unauthorized sale of prescription drugs. Theft can include a family member taking the prescriptions from another member of the household or taking prescriptions from a stranger. The sale of prescription drugs that have been stolen is also prohibited by federal and state law. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), a division of the U.S. Justice Department, reports that the most common means for individuals over age 12 to acquire prescriptions for non-medical uses is from a family member.

Organizational Policies

Corporations, small businesses, local schools, universities and even property management firms are among the organizations with policies that explicitly prohibit illegal use of prescription drugs. Lynn University of Boca Raton, Fla., for instance, says, "Use or sharing of prescription drugs is a violation of the Lynn University Other Drug Policy and will result in sanction."

Insurance Fraud

"Many abusers of controlled prescription drugs commit insurance fraud to finance the purchase of these drugs," according to the NDIC. The NDIC further notes that these activities have a great economic impact on society. The fraud occurs when one individual acquires a prescription under his name and distributes the drugs to others, or when prescriptions are falsely acquired through insurance under the name of another individual. The fraud can even be perpetrated by physicians.

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