What most people call prescription medications are actually controlled substances, which means there are strict laws in place that govern the possession, use and dispensation of those medicines. You have to have a prescription to obtain those medications because there is a risk of misuse of the medication, addiction or interaction with other medication.

People often conflate the basic rules that apply to over-the-counter medication with the rules in place for prescription drugs. You can ask a co-worker or family member for an ibuprofen or sodium naproxen pill if you have a headache. However, requesting a Tylenol 3 or their unused remnants of an opioid painkiller prescription would violate both federal and Missouri state controlled substance laws.

Only the person who holds the prescription can possess the medication

Possession is a complex legal concept. If you have a medication in your possession, even if you never intend to take it, you could wind up charged with a crime if the medication was prescribed to someone else. The more commonly abused the drug in question is, the less likely law enforcement and prosecutors will turn a blind eye to your possessing it without a prescription.

Regardless of whether someone offers you the medication for a medical condition you experience or you hold on to it for them because of their concerns about dependents or a family member stealing their medication, you could be vulnerable to criminal charges if you get caught while in the possession of someone else’s prescription pills.

Penalties associated with possession of a controlled substance will depend on the kind of medication and the weight of the medicine in your possession. These charges can be very serious and may necessitate either an attempt to go through drug court or the creation of a criminal defense strategy.