Maybe your mother strained her back at work or your father twisted his knee doing the gardening. It seems harmless enough to give them a few leftover painkillers from when you had surgery on your wrist a few months ago or to share a few muscle relaxers with them until they can get to the doctor.
The only problem is that doing so puts you both on the wrong side of the law – partially because sharing medication is dangerous and partially because the law sharply restricts the distribution and use of all controlled substances.
The law doesn’t distinguish between prescription and street drugs
Essentially, it comes down to this: Prescription narcotics, including painkillers, muscle relaxers and benzodiazepines, are still controlled substances, just like methamphetamine and cocaine. When someone has a prescription for narcotics, that allows that person – and only that person – to have and use those drugs.
When you knowingly deliver the drugs to someone else, even a friend or relative, you are engaging in drug trafficking, and that puts you in the same legal danger as any drug dealer. Your friend or relative, then, faces the same legal danger as a drug user if they’re caught with your drugs in their possession. It does not matter whether money changed hands, nor what your motives were.
It’s also important to note that prosecutors have, in the past, charged people with some form of homicide after they’ve shared their prescriptions with someone and there’s been an accidental overdose. That makes sharing drugs with someone else an extremely dangerous idea.
Good intentions can sometimes lead to unpleasant consequences. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime after sharing a prescription, make sure you fully understand all your potential legal options.