When someone has a prescription for a medication, it is legal for them to use and possess that specific drug. People often take for granted that prescription medications are safer than other substances in both a legal and a medical sense.
For example, many people assume that they will not have to worry about criminal prosecution if they have a prescription for a specific medication. However, there are still numerous restrictions on what you can do with a prescribed medication, especially those associated with intentional abuse. For example:
1. Driving after using medication
Virginia state law has very clear standards for impaired driving. Alcohol isn’t the only mind-altering substance that someone should avoid using before driving. There are plenty of prescription medications that can also affect someone’s driving ability. Muscle relaxants, seizure medication and even certain psychiatric drugs could affect someone’s ability to drive safely.
Unlike alcohol, there is no per se limit to the amount of a medication someone can have in their bloodstream. In most cases, the presence of the medication in any amount may serve as a reason for impaired driving charges. Anyone caught driving while under the influence of a drug with the potential to cause impairment could face prosecution even if they feel that their driving was perfectly safe.
2. Sharing medication with others
Maybe you recovered more quickly from a sprained ankle than you expected, so you have leftover prescription medication. You might hold on to the medication in case your symptoms flare back up again, but you might also consider giving your leftovers to someone you know without insurance.
Whether you sell your leftover medication to a coworker or let your neighbor have it for free, you could end up facing charges if you get caught transferring the medication or if they suffer an adverse medical reaction or commit a crime while using it. People can also run into legal trouble if they run out of the medication they were originally prescribed and obtain more on the unregulated market.
Understanding the limits that apply to what you can do with your prescribed medication could help you avoid Virginia drug charges. Don’t take this information for granted.