Controlled substances laws limit the right to possess, use and transfer certain medications. When a doctor prescribes medication to a patient, only that one person has the legal right to possess or take that drug.
If you don’t need every pill in the prescription because you recover quicker than anticipated, you might think that giving your leftover medication to a friend is the right thing to do. You save them money they would have spent out of pocket or on insurance co-pays and save yourself a trip to a disposal site.
Unfortunately, depending on the number of pills involved, you could wind up charged with drug trafficking even if you didn’t accept any money in exchange for that medication.
When do trafficking laws apply to a transfer of medication?
As a general rule, only licensed physicians and pharmacists or medical staff acting under the direction of such professionals can recommend and dispense medication to the public. Anyone without the proper medical credentials who gives ourselves medication to another person could wind up charged with a crime if they get caught in the act or if something happens to the other party because of that medication.
Under Massachusetts law, 18 grams is the typical minimum weight for trafficking charges for controlled substances. However, if the medication involved is Fentanyl, that minimum weight goes down to ten grams. The greater the weight of the medication involved, the more serious the charges and penalties involved.
Don’t assume that just because you didn’t earn any financial gain that you won’t face charges or penalties. Any drug charge deserves serious consideration and a robust defense strategy.