Sharing prescribed medication is a crime in Virginia

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

There are medications that can achieve many important medical goals, but people cannot access them without the help of a professional. Legally accessing prescribed medications in Virginia requires the assistance of a physician.

A doctor can recommend controlled substances to treat medical issues ranging from psychological challenges to high blood pressure. A patient can then obtain necessary medication from a licensed pharmacy and use the medication to treat their health concerns. The involvement of a physician makes the use of a medication that might otherwise be illegal a lawful act in Virginia.

People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that once they have received prescription medication, they can do whatever they want with it. Seemingly common-sense choices that people make with their medications could lead to criminal charges in some cases.

Unlicensed people cannot transfer drugs

Technically, a patient who pays for their medication at a pharmacy or obtains it through their insurance coverage is now the owner of that medication. However, the drug remains a controlled substance that is subject to numerous state regulations.

The patient is the only one lawfully able to possess and use that medication. If they do not need to complete their treatment regimen and have leftover medication remaining, they cannot legally transfer their medication to another party. An attempt to do so could lead to criminal prosecution.

Someone caught in the act of transferring their medication to another person could face criminal charges. They do not need to seek financial gain from the transfer for their actions to violate the law. A gift of prescribed medication to a neighbor or family member is as illegal as selling leftover prescription medication to a co-worker.

People can get caught while transferring medication. They could also face accountability if the person who receives their medication gets caught with it later. Particularly in cases where someone overdoses on prescribed medication or commits a crime while under the influence, the person who provided the medication could face criminal culpability.

Only licensed medical professionals, such as pharmacists, can dispense controlled substances to others. Those who attempt to circumvent that rule are at risk of Virginia drug charges. Understanding the limits that apply to the use of prescription medication can help people avoid or better respond to criminal charges.