Skip to Content
Serving Clients Throughout Long Island and the Five Boroughs Free Consultations 888-966-8480

Is it Illegal to Share Prescription Drugs?

Serving Families Throughout Garden City
Prescription Drugs

Yes. Prescription drugs are controlled substances, which means they are only legal for the person with the prescription. If you share or give away prescription drugs, you are committing a crime, even if you have good intentions.

Sharing prescription drugs can even get you arrested.

Why Is Sharing Prescription Drugs Illegal?

Sharing prescription drugs increases the risk of prescription drug misuse. It can also put people’s health at risk. Prescriptions are designed for one person and based on their size, weight, and health conditions. If you give someone your prescription, they could have a bad reaction to it or experience serious side effects. They could also form a dangerous dependency on the drug.

For example, consider someone with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Their doctor prescribes Adderall to help them manage their health condition. Later, this person is studying with their friend, who is having trouble focusing. Adderall helps the person with ADHD focus, so they share their prescription with their friend. The friend, however, does not have ADHD and does have a family history of substance use disorder. They like the way that Adderall makes them feel, so they seek out the drug from other sources and eventually become addicted. Even though the person with ADHD had the best intentions, they unwittingly harmed their friend by sharing their prescription.

Doctors make careful decisions when prescribing drugs to patients, and you simply do not have the tools you need to make those decisions for a friend, family member, or anyone else you know.

Controlled substances are controlled substances because they have the potential for abuse and pose risks to people’s health. Sharing prescription drugs is illegal because you should never take these risks into your own hands.

What Are the Consequences of Sharing Prescription Drugs?

The legal consequences for sharing prescription drugs will depend on the details of your situation. In New York, sharing a prescription is called the “criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions.”

One act of criminal diversion (sharing one pill) is a Class A misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail or 3 years’ probation and up to $1,000 in fines. Other charges and consequences can be more serious.

If you are facing drug charges of any severity, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you protect your legal rights, tell your side of the story, and seek the most favorable results.

Can You Share Prescription Drugs in an Emergency?

State law includes exceptions for emergencies. If someone is experiencing an opioid overdose, for instance, you can administer naloxone, even if the drug is prescribed to you and you are not a medical professional. Similarly, you can administer epinephrine (an EpiPen) if someone is experiencing anaphylaxis.

In the confusion of an emergency, however, you could be arrested.

Misunderstandings like this one are one reason you should get in touch with a lawyer the moment you are arrested or charged.

At Foley Griffin, we have more than 75 years of experience helping people get the best possible results in criminal cases. We treat every client with dignity and respect and understand the importance of a prompt investigation, preparation, and personalized attention.

Our team believes in practicing law with the highest level of integrity and keeping our clients’ best interests at the forefront.

For quality representation that begins with a free, confidential consultation, please call us at (888) 966-8480 or send us a message online.

Share To: