It’s illegal to give away or sell unused prescription drugs

Some prescription medications are expensive. Even if you have excellent insurance, you might have had to pay $100 out-of-pocket to get pain medication or other necessary prescription drugs.

If it turns out that you have more medicine than you need to feel better, selling those extra pills to someone who might need them or even giving them to a friend or co-worker might seem less wasteful than throwing away your unused medication. However, what might seem like a way to recover some of your money or reduce waste could put you at risk for very serious criminal charges.

What does North Carolina law say?

In North Carolina, as in all other states in the country, the law prohibits the average individual from dispensing or otherwise transferring the ownership of a prescription drug.

Only pharmacists, physicians and other licensed medical professionals can legally provide a prescription medication to someone. The very act of giving the drug to someone else, even if you don’t accept payment for it, might constitute drug distribution and leave you vulnerable to very serious criminal charges.

Pain medication isn’t the only type of drug that carries criminal consequences

Prescription pain medications, especially narcotic pain relievers, are subject to controlled substance laws. If the medication in question isn’t a painkiller, it may not seem so serious to share it with someone. However, there are recreational and inappropriate uses for drugs ranging from psychiatric medication to sleep aids.

People can abuse a wide range of medications, sometimes with catastrophic medical and/or criminal consequences. As a result, you could face charges for giving away or selling any controlled substance, not just prescribed pain relievers. If you do, it’s wise to seek the help of an experienced attorney.

Given the serious penalties and social stigma associated with trafficking offenses, anyone accused of a crime because of a misunderstanding should consider fighting back to protect their future.