Your mom ran out of her Xanax and the pharmacy says that there’s a delay in the supply chain somewhere, so you don’t see any harm in giving your mom a few of the pills you take for anxiety while she waits. Or, maybe your buddy hurt his back helping you move, so you think nothing of tossing him a few Norco that you have left over from a surgery the year before.

This is the sort of thing that happens all the time – and it’s the sort of thing that lands a lot of good people in very serious legal trouble.

Why aren’t your drugs yours to pass out?

When you get a prescription for a narcotic or another controlled substance, like Ritalin, codeine, benzodiazepines or muscle relaxers, the law says that you and you alone are permitted to take that medication. It’s illegal (and dangerous) for your friend or relative to either possess or consume medication that was prescribed to you.

It’s also illegal for you to give your medication to someone else. Even if you don’t charge the other person a single dime for the pills, that’s still the delivery of a controlled substance – and that makes you a drug dealer.

The opioid epidemic that swept the nation over the last decade or so has prompted law enforcement officers everywhere to crack down quite heavily on the illegal distribution of painkillers and other controlled substances – and that extends to prescription drugs that are shared between family members and friends.

If you’re being prosecuted over a situation that evolved after you shared your prescription medication with another person, the wisest thing you can do is seek legal guidance.