Prescription drugs are only available on a limited basis with the permission of your doctor. The reason is that, though these medications have accepted medical uses, they also have the potential for abuse. 

Abuse of prescription drugs is illegal, and there are many criminal offenses that can arise as a result. 

What are some specific prescription drug offenses? 

It is against the law to distribute drugs prescribed to you for others to use. This includes sharing them with a friend who may be experiencing pain or other symptoms. The prescription you receive only allows you access to the drugs; you cannot sell or give them to anyone else. 

Even if you initially had a valid prescription for the medication, once the prescription expires, you are no longer able to possess it legally. Doctor-shopping and prescription fraud to obtain controlled substances under false pretenses are also criminal offenses. 

What do you do with extra medication? 

After your prescription expires, you may have leftover medication that you do not need. The legal expectation is that you will dispose of any unused portion of prescription medication. You can throw most medications into the household trash following the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended steps. 

However, some prescription drugs are so dangerous that flushing them down the toilet is the only acceptable way to dispose of them unless there is another take-back option available. Instructions for disposing of a particular medication should be available on the label. Otherwise, you can ask your pharmacist for guidance. 

What classes of prescription drugs see the most abuse? 

The prescription drugs most often abused include depressants, narcotics and stimulants. Abuse of these classes of medications can cause adverse effects such as seizures and respiratory depression. These effects can be serious and may ultimately prove fatal. 

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem, both in North Carolina and in the United States as a whole. Authorities often enforce drug laws very strictly in an effort at mitigation, so be sure you understand the rules to follow.