Pain Management Community
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356518 tn?1322267242

Narcotic presciption law... PLEASE READ!

This is outragous!
I thought it would be crucial information for us to know though.
It is really terrible what happened to this person. I do not want this to happen to any of you here so please keep this in mind.

There needs to be a law requiring labeling stating that all prescribed narcotic prescriptions must be kept in their original prescribed bottles at all times!

I currently always keep a day or two's worth of all my medication (non-narcotic & narcotic) mixed together in one pill bottle and keep it on me in my purse.  To me it is easier, than keeping two or three large bottles of narcotic medications in my purse, which could easily be lost or stolen.  At home, I keep a weeks worth in those daily medication carriers, because I lock the rest of my narcotics up in a fire proof safe.  This also keeps unknown people in my house from getting to them along with my 5 yr old daughter.

Recently, I went on a trip for a week to visit my father out of state where he was working.  I had my mixed medication bottle in my purse, and a weeks worth of medication in their bottles packed in my suit cases, which were in the back of my car that I was driving.  I left the rest home, since I just got a month's supply and I didn't want to take a chance of them being lost or stolen. Also a friend told me he was arrested while going away for a week and he had his full months prescription on him, so they got him on intent to sell or distribute dangerous controlled substances, because the cop said he did not need a full month's worth of medication for a week's trip! (What happened to keeping the medication together in their prescribed bottle?)  So anyway, I was pulled over for speeding during my drive up to where I was going.  The cop didn't search my car, but went through my purse and saw the medication bottle, which he opened.  He asked me what all the pills were, and I was completely honest with him.  I also told him the prescription bottles were packed away in my suit cases. I stated that I kept a few out of each, because I did not know how long that I would be on the road traveling.  Now I have been on these medications for more than 5 years, so there was no driving while intoxicated because they did not work like that on me.  The cop arrested me for being in possession of dangerous controlled substances!  Now, until this, I did not know it was illegal to carry narcotics that you have prescriptions for in other means.  I mean why do they make pill cases without warning labels on them?  These ended up being Felony charges against me!  I couldn't get the DA to drop the case even though I had valid prescriptions for them.  Plus they were confiscated and I ran short at the end of the month, so I went through withdrawl a few days.

I called the DEA, no one could find this law!  I looked under the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, and it is not there!  So I firmly believe if this is supposed to be a federal law that you can go to jail for, then it should be easy to find and it is not!  


I have talked to many and  many people who have run into this situation that was clueless like myself.  I think this law change and labeling addition would say alot of police officer's and courts time & money!

54 Responses
775302 tn?1253104105
I'm in shock, I can't beleive that even after the cops found out that you had valid prescriptions for the pills and that you were totally up front with them and they still wouldn't drop the charges!! That is insane! I never never never carry a full months worth of pills when I go away for the weekend. We go away almost every weekend and I take only enough to make it that time I'm gone. I would hate to forget them somewhere or have them stolen or whatever I just thought it was safer to keep the bulk of them at home. Now I'm going to have to re-think that. Even when I go to the ER and I show the admitting - triage nurse what I'm taking I always have the original bottles but not all the actual meds in them. I tell them I don't like walking around with that much narcotic meds on me and after if  I'm admitted they don't want me to have my own meds because they don't want me taking too much. the nurses always tell me  that I'm doing the right thing. But if a cop was there he could arrest me??? This is scary as all get out!
356518 tn?1322267242
I am soooo sorry, I should have been more clear. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN TO ME. I found this while searching laws we have aginst the pharmacist who treat us so badly.
Avatar universal
it confused me at 1st, quotation marks would have helped.
however the message is pretty much the same.
it seems that whatever we do it can be twisted into something bad by law enforcement.
so what do we do then?
carry all our meds with us all the time? but then they can charge us with being under the influence.
does the law or legal fraternity have a view as to how we should carry our meds when out of the house?
Why not hold onto an extra bottle, the prior prescriptions, and the new one... I use an old bottle for carrying my med, and keep the extras at home in the newest bottle... The older bottle states to use the meds by a year in advance.. An official wouldn't be able to tell which bottle the med belong to, as the bottle states 8mg of hydromorphone on both, thus you wouldn't be breaking any laws.  
535089 tn?1400677119

I think you will have to check the laws in your Country. I'm not so sure that they are the same. And maybe they are!!

Terrible story anyway.
356518 tn?1322267242
The laws vary state by state. The federal law though is valid in each and every state in America.
The laws of course change with different contries and in my personal opinion they are worse than those in America so be very careful and learn the laws that affect you.
We are branded drug abusers when we go to the doctor concerning our pain and then again when we go to have the medications filled and then we could be branded as drug dealers when we have said medications on us. It seems we lose every way we turn. But there are those out there who do realize chronic pain is a disease and needs to be treated such as doctors and pharmacist and policman who perhaps have a loved one who suffers and needs theses kinds of medications. So it is important not to bunch them all together as bad people as we know there are those who do understand what we go through and how we live day to day.
Avatar universal
   I can totally relate to what you guys are all talking about.  And believe it or not it gets worse.  I was giving a friend of my sisters a ride to a local store.  When we stopped for gas a cop started harassing my sister's friend and somehow that turned into finding out that she was on probation.  I was in paying for the gas and using the potty then came out to find her with the cops at my car.  He was just starting to search MY CAR when I came out.  I asked what the problem was and he said that he had seen my friend in the parking lot and DIDN'T LIKE THE LOOKS OF HER and low and behold he said that his instincts were good, because after all she is on probation.  He then searched my car, and then asked for my purse.  I asked why, and was told that because I was with her that made me searchable as well.  When going through my purse he found my meds. in their prescribed bottles.  He wasn't familiar with the names and asked me what they were.  I was honest and told him exactly what they were and what they were for.  I had a bottle of Avinza (morphine er), a bottle of Oxycodoone, a bottle of dilaudid, and a bottle of Ambien.  I was charged with four felony counts of possession of a C2 controlled substance.  I went to jail for 5 days.  I was arrested on a fri. night  and did not get in front of a judge until the following wednesday.  At that time they OR'd me, but that didnt give me back my 5 days.
    I went to court over this 6 or 7 times, the arraigment, assigning an attorney,  (they only make on tiny little decisions each time and then it is come back in another month.  In the middle of all this I was very ill and didn't realize it, I ended up in the hospital, my case, (which I had already provided documentation to the court re: the prescriptions), and my attorney had said that they would probably drop the charges on our next visit as soon as they  verified the validity of the documents.  But being in the hospital I missed the next court date.  When I contacted the public defenders office I found that my case had been transferred to a different court, a different DA and my public defender had retired.  The new attorney did not seem to think I was really that bad off and kept setting new court dates 3 weeks away.  Even though I told her that I had no idea when I was due to be released, that they were talking about taking my leg off and that I was due to be in the hospital for quite awhile.  She set 6 different court appearances, I was in the hospital for all of them.  When I was released I found that those missed appearances really ++=# off my judge so he issued a warrant for my arrest for $30,000.00 When I begged my PD to get it back on the calendar I was told that the only way to do that was to turn myself into the jail and wait until they could get me in front of a judge.  Having just had my leg cut off I couldn't really think Of anything I wanted to do less than go to jail with one leg.  So I waited.. trying to figure out what to do.
  Flash forward 6 months...BAM BAM BAM  at the door. The police were there to arrest me.. my sisters kids were taken by cps.  (They've lived with me almost their whole lives),  I bailed out in 2 hours.  They would not return the kids.  They declared me an unsuitable caregiver, and put my babies in foster care.  Where they still are today.  Yes the charges did get taken care of.  It took my hiring my own attorney but they did finally drop the charges at the beginning of May.  I go to court next week, and the attorney for the girls, and the attorney for my sister are all endorsing them being allowed to come home.  I have no idea if that is going to happen or not.  I pray that it does.  I am really afraid that it won't because it seems like the personnel at the  foster care agency have an agenda of their own, and it seems to involve the money they get to keep the kids more than what is best for them.  They have been placed in 4 homes in 4 months.

Is there a moral to the story...The only one I can think of is don't take your drugs with you...it can ruin your life..and the lives of ones you love.  This story is sad but true.  I wish it weren't.

710547 tn?1295449630
Well, I've heard it all now.  I have someone in my home that used to (too recently ago) steal my drugs and take them himself.  I had to take all mine with me at times.  I also put some of each of my drugs into a single bottle.  I take a great many meds and I can't take them all or I'd have to go to church, the store, etc. with a suitcase!  This is absurd!  Sometimes, when I know I'm innocent, or in the right, I tend to behave naively.  I guess I need to figure something out.  I thought the only time you could get into trouble was if you crossed country borders or something.  If they have to be in their original bottles, yet you can't have a months worth - what is the answer?  Put most in an old bottle, also marked by the correct label, and take just the right amount in the current bottle?  What if you're held over and you run out?  Oh my, I'm not sure how to handle this.  Maybe it's a good thing that I'm now too sick to leave home much.  The only places I go are the doctor and hospital, but being stopped speeding etc. still would be a problem.  I'm stumped.

Avatar universal
I have to say Vickey, that's horrible. However for most, I don't think that would happen.

1. If you take the medication legally, you have backup. Cops can't charge you with possession of something you're meant to have unless they're complete psychos.

2. I can't imagine they'd get angry at having 60 pills in a bottle that says you have 60 pills. It would seem far more suspicious to have 20 in a bottle meant for 60.

3. Also, don't tell cops anything if you can help it until you speak to a lawyer. It can end up hurting you more than helping.
775302 tn?1253104105
My husband is  a Police Officer in Philadelphia for over 10 years now and he tells me all the time, NEVER OFFER INFORMATION. Even if  you know you are  totally innocent and  think that you should just tell the cops what is going on it is ALWAYS best to shut your mouth and wait for a lawyer. It is a shame that we are all guilty until proven innocent but that is the case and beleive me, being married to one I can tell you. cops can be real jerks! My heart goes out to those of us that have been accused unfairly of being a drug addict/seeker.

765775 tn?1366028291
Well.......I got onto this one a bit late but as I am a police officer let me try to clear up some things.

In my 23 years in law enforcement I know of NO law that states you can not travel with prescription pain medication on your person that IS prescribed to you. There are ordinances that vary from state to state on quantity that you may have that is not in the labeled bottle so it is best to just have it in the bottle as I myself carry them. The Federal Goverment and the DEA actually encourage those that have to travel with these types of medications to have them in a carry on bag and not in a checked bag because of the level of abuse of these narcotics and the risk of theft.

You CAN be arrested and charged with DUI in all 50 States if you are caught driving while taking these medications, prescribed or not. I am assuming that is why the woman's husband who is a Philadelphia Police Officer said not to say anything. All of us that take these medications know that it is almost impossible to not be able to drive if we have to take these medications everyday. It is just another problem we all deal with everyday. None the less it is against the law.

In regards to Vickey's story the way she explains it, that was an illegal search in any state. The police officer could not search your vehicle or your purse without probable cause or your permission. This would be the same for the person mentioned in the story that Sandee posted. The officer can ask you to put your purse outside the vehicle for his/her own protection in case there may be a weapon in there. If he or she feels that there may be a weapon or contraband in the purse they still must ask permission or get a warrant as once it is not within your reach it no longer poses a threat. You don't forfeit any of your rights because you are in the company of someone that is on probation. I don't know what happened as I wasn't there and I am very sorry to hear that you had to lose your leg and then suffer through this experience as well.

If you were unable to travel anywhere with these medications, how would you get them home from the pharmacy? That is why Vickey's story has me a bit confused as she said her medications were prescribed and in the labeled bottles. Even if prescription fraud were suspected an investigation should have to be conducted prior to charges be filed.

It took me a very long time to type this because of my conditions, but I seems that some are getting confused with the law here and I wouldn't want anyone to go without their prescribed medications because they thought they couldn't leave their home with them without the fear of being arrested.

356518 tn?1322267242
Oh Vicky I am soo sorry for what you have been through! I do hope you consult an attorney as red said they had to probable reason to search you and if you did not give them permission they were out of line! Also you had legitimate prescriptions for your pain medications so I would definitely look into putting a case against them to show them they were wrong and the horrible time they put you through not to mention your sisters kids! Oh that is awful they had to endure the pain they must have gone through for nothing! Talk to a attorney please!

Thank you so much for chiming in on this topic. We can always count on you to advise us when it comes to matters like this, we are really lucky to have you here as part of our community! Thanks again:)
Avatar universal
Good post Red, and no offense Vickey but I think something is missing from your story as Red pointed out.

Red, also...you can be charged for DUI that is true, however it almost never ends in a conviction because proving you were under the influence can be hard. If you take an ER medication at 6am and it lasts 8 hours and you get pulled over at 5pm, the medication will be in your system on a test, however you're not being affected by it. They have to bring in specialists to prove it and it takes a lot of effort and it would be nearly impossible to prove.

Furthermore, unless you actively tell them, or look intoxicated from it chances are they won't notice. I was arrested last year, and had the opiate in my system and was never questioned except about alcohol. So while it is a possibility, it's not very likely. Telling a cop "YEAH I TOOK 2 MORPHINE!" if he asks is the worst thing to do. Don't tell them a thing and if they notice intoxication, speak with a lawyer before saying anything.

Offering up information to a police officer can be your undoing if you're suspected of anything. There was a seminar on google video by a prosecutor and police officer about this, showing all the ways it can backfire.
765775 tn?1366028291
I wanted everyone to be aware of the DUI because it is not just about being pulled over. What if, God Forbid you get into an accident and you are injured or you injure soemone else. In this case you are going to the hospital regardless and blood will be drawn and you WILL be arrested. I have been there and have seen it for myself too many times.

Believe me,a police officer gets no pleasure in having to arrest someone who is in bad shape to begin with and adds insult to injury with a new one to deal with or have to carry the burden of hurting someone else.

Listen, I still drive myself when I can while on these medications, but short distances only. That doesn't make it right. I still run the risk of hurting myself or others backing out of my driveway, but we can't have to rely on others all the time to get to doctors appointments, stores, etc. Some of us have nobody to help us, those are the people I really feel sorry for.

The other thing you need to be mindful of is that just because you don't tell the officer that you are taking the medication doesn't mean that you going to get past a field sobriety test. It can be administered at anytime when an officer feels that you MAY be intoxicated. I have seen people fail them simply because of their disabilities and still be charged because the medication was later found in their system.

I will say that, I, personally always have let the person go that was honest with me about it and didn't have far to go. If they did have a distance to travel I would either let another licensed driver in the vehicle drive or let them call someone to come to the location and drive them rather than make an arrest. I was never that desperate to hit the sheet with a cheap arrest. I work in a city where someone gets killed everyday so there are bigger things to worry about. But you are all right that there are cops out there that will, but again the law is the law.

I will tell you this. If you have a Hanicapped Placard or Handicapped Plates, most officers will not arrest you and give you the options that I mentioned above. Police Officers are human beings also and understand these things. I just got one myself in March. After being a cop for 23 years it was a bit humbling for me to do but my doctor insisted as I can't walk more than 100 yards now without having some difficulty. I have to say that I am getting a bit pissed with able bodied people getting these things and taking the parking space that I need but that is another issue.

We all have experienced lightheadedness, dizziness. sleepiness, etc from these medications and know that it can happen at anytime. That is why it is safer to just not drive but it is just another Catch 22 that all of us have to deal with.

It is better to be safe than sorry and we all need to think about the safety of others as well as ourselves. Get a ride whenever possible and if there is another licensed driver in the car toss them the keys. My son just got his license so he is my personal chauffeur these days. I know he just wants to get his hands on my truck but I will take the service while it lasts. LOL
Avatar universal
True Red, but a lot of people on these medications for long periods of time have no issues at all mental or physical impairment. If I was ever field tested, I have two shot knees and cannot balance regardless.

Taking these meds and driving doesn't affect me in the least and never has. For them to actually prosecute you is not easy, they need to hire people that can actually attest that you were intoxicated. You could hire an expert that would say the exact opposite and it would become a long drawn out battle.
765775 tn?1366028291
You are making my point. Why go through all of that if it is not necessary. I have witnessed other officers administer a field sobriety test to a person with bad knees just like you and the officer felt they failed the test.

Blood was then taken and an arrest was made. Police Officers are not doctors and unforunately the arrest is legal. While it may get dismissed in court at a later date, do you think it is worth the risk?

I will tell you that most of the time my medication doesn't affect me either, but right now as I am typing this I feel that I have to take a nap because I am excessively tired. I took my medication 3 1/2 hours ago. This it what can happen with extended released medication especially, but also with any of the others that chronic pain patients are prescribed. One hour ago I would have felt I could drive fine and would have probably made it to my destination but at this present time a would be a danger to myself and others if I were on my way back home from that destination.

While we may not agree with all the laws they are in place for a reason. I don't like paying taxes either but unfortunately that is another one we can't get around without the possibilty of arrest in this country. LOL
Do you take neurontin? Only med that makes me sleepy hours after taking.
765775 tn?1366028291
BTW: I have been on pain meds since 2006 so they are not new to me either. These substances can cause side effects at anytime for various reasons, even if you are tolerant of them.

If you really think about it, I think you will agree with me in the end. As I said earlier, there are times when I drive because I have no choice also, but it doesn't make it right.
Avatar universal
Right but all I'm saying is actually being convicted of this isn't easy. If you didn't take your medication the day you get blood tested, it will still be present in your blood test. How can they say you actually took the medication then? Will you be convicted of a DUI because you took your medication the day before? Even with a urine test and using it often it's going to be there even if you didn't take it within 12 hours of driving.

With ER meds it's pretty much impossible to avoid driving with it in your system. I'm supposed to take 3 a day, considering 8-12 hours for each...there's no time it wouldn't be there in your system.

Obviously a police officer can't really tell, who could? There really should be some type of legal recourse or defense for chronic pain patients I believe. Someone in chronic pain on ER meds who gets a DUI for having the drug in their system despite not taking it when driving shouldn't get a DUI, that's just wrong.
765775 tn?1366028291
I agree with you 100%. They can tell when you have taken your medications because of the concentration levels in your blood.

For me, it just isn't worth the hassle.

765775 tn?1366028291
For those of you that are interested in the law in NJ that was the subject of this thread here it is:

2C:35-24.     Possession of certain prescription drugs

A person who possesses a controlled dangerous substance that was prescribed or dispensed lawfully may possess it only in the container in which it was dispensed; except that the person may possess no more than a 10-day supply in other than the original container if the person produces, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, the name and address of the practitioner who prescribed the substance or the pharmacist who dispensed it.  A person who violates this section is a disorderly person.

The law is written similar in all the other states also.
606078 tn?1247268153
I have to agree with Red on this one. It's not worth the hassle. A couple of months ago I had to fly into the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. My grand-baby was having oral surgery and my daughter was a nervous wreck. I didn't dare put my meds in a checked in bag so I put them all in a zip lock baggie. I take 10 different meds several times a day, so you know that baggie was bulging.

  Since having my knee replaced I always set off that damn scanner thing and that's when the show began. I handed them the card that I carry from my surgeon with his name and phone number so that anyone can verify the info on my knee. After the fiasco of the knee was finally over, they started in about my meds. Each bottle was labeled, in date and had my name on all of them.

  " Why are you carrying this many bottles? What are they for? Did you know that these are controlled drugs?" By that time my knees were falling off, my head was pounding and I had had enough. I asked them as nicely as I could if I needed my attorney? That's when the supervisor came out. He looked at me and then at these two big brutes and started apologizing. Evidently these two brutes had overstepped the line. Duh!!

   My son-in-law drove me back home to Houston. I just could not go through the rituals of trying to fly again with my meds in a baggie. It's not only those who are driving, it seems that the meds we depend on to function day to day make people suspicious. That's fine but to me it's just not worth the hassle of that type of interrogation, and the embarrassment of people looking at me like I was trying to sneak controlled drugs aboard a plane. We have to be very careful.

gentle hugs
765775 tn?1366028291

You are allowed to carry those prescriptions onto the plane with you in that manner and the DEA actually encourages you to do so. If I get a chance I will post that also.

They want you to have the drugs on your person during a flight to prevent theft or tampering if they were to be in a checked bag. You are correct in that you were dealing with two idiots. This world is full of them. Stupidity isn't against the law and the only reason for that is because the people that would have to pass the law (politicians) were be guilty of breaking it as soon as the ink dried on the paper it was written on.
606078 tn?1247268153
    Oh I know about the baggie thing, I've flown several times but I have never had a problem until this last time. These 2 big Brutus like guys looked liked they might have been Mercenaries, they definitely demanded attention. Their supervisor had heard everything and knew that the qeustioning was out of line. And to top off everything else, they took my cane....:( I refused to to budge until I got my cane back. I gave them "the look " ( my grandson calls it)and continued on down to board my plane. It could have been worse I guess But it was too much for me.

356518 tn?1322267242
I wanted to add that if you are arrested for driving under the influance the police will take you to the ER and have blood drawn before your even booked. They will have the results when it comes time see the judge. As Red has said it is against the law to drive while under the influance of these medications so even though your legally prescibed the medications that is in your blood and blood work they still can prosecute you. They can but rarely ask for specialist to testify because legally you were in the wrong for driving under the influance.
I am not trying to be the bad guy here just making sure this is very clear.
I think we should have laws to protect us rather than prohibit us from doing what we need to such as take these medications that is for a disease just like any other disease.
If you think though about the people who are not legitimate Pt's that are/will drive while under the influance of these drugs in MUCH higher amounts than we take that are on the roads there to cause accidents and possibly kill someone that is what the laws are for unfortunately we are caught in the middle.
Avatar universal
True, but like I was saying there's really no way to tell if you were under the influence barring sobriety tests. If you take your 4-6 medication at 8am, and drive at 6pm and get blood/urine tested, it will appear there. You would easily get out of a DUI conviction with a good lawyer. The drugs will stay in your system for a while if you're taking them regularly.
775302 tn?1253104105
It's like a ping pong match, " what I'm saying is..."  " yeah but what I meant was...." I love a good debate and no matter what side you fall on you have to appreciate the passion behind the views! Thank You!
Avatar universal
My issue with the whole thing is that if it's in your system and you took it long before you drove and you're suspected of DUI for an unrelated reason, they'll still say you were on it although you weren't.
Avatar universal
I am so incredibly thankful for finding this post an comments!!! I have hadd the same experience but getting 2 yes TWO DUI'S for medications ive been on over 10 years...got my drivers license renewed w driving test included have a drs letter stating im not impaired while on my medications !! the cops stole 30+opanas planted two on my friend who now has a felony. ..set me up for the second dui during the presentence investigation by admitting I took my meds that morning. they can twist anything and in court theres nothing you can do. im just sick about it an on the verge of suicide over the whole mess....can anyone direct me to anyone that can help? im a disabled and they even used my disabilities against me calling them impaired!! please someone with ANY advice. im being abused by ford county police and theres no one to report it to......
Avatar universal
I too was arrested for being under the influence of prescribed medicine.  I was traumatized, humiliated and put through the field tests over and over.
None of my meds are considered narcotics, but this cop was on a mission
I was arrested, booked and put in orange for the first time in my life, I am 59.
Im still dealing with it, going through bogus charges, and  possible conviction on my clean record.  I feel persecuted to say the least.
DO NOT TELL POLICE ANYTHING, they will twist your words and file a report that makes you look like a criminal when in fact you are a victim of a screwed up justice system.
3112530 tn?1434035633
This is my understanding of an illegal search. I work with an attorney and have read a lot of the laws. IF THERE IS PROBABLE CAUSE, YES BUT A PURSE INSIDE THE CAR IS NO GROUNDS FOR A SEARCH. Again, don't offer any information. Check the laws in your state to be sure.
Another point to make is that a controlled substance while driving can be 'construed' many different ways.  A days supply of prescription medication is all that should be needed and prescription information also should be carried but not while driving. Many people think the medication does not affect their judgment but that is why it is called a controlled substance.
Think of this from the police point of view. A officer who does not know you sees that you are carrying more than a days supply of medication WHILE DRIVING.
I don't drive but use a wheelchair and only carry a days supply with me. (that should only be two pills at the most).
Common sense prevails here. If the shoes were on the other foot, what would you think?
Avatar universal
Yeah I've heard that it can happen. I know you get some Narcotics or other controlled substances that say "Use caution when driving our operating machinery until you know the effects of the medication" Therefore for me if you as I have been taking something for years then we know the effects of the medicine and can justify there is no risk at that point. I do the same thing with putting all my scripts in one bottle for the day or weekends worth if I visit out of town. I mean who wants to carry multiple bottles with a couple pills in them, and nobody wants to carry around the whole script in the event of theft or other instances.
It is getting ridiculous when you can get in trouble for driving when taking prescribed scheduled medication, but then can't get a job because of that as well. Oh then you don't qualify for the 40k of SS benefits you paid the first 20 years of your life because your too young or can still work although you can't without medication. I need to write a book with all the frustrations I have with this BS with "Can't get a job due to medication, can't drive, but also can't get paid in taxes either"
7721494 tn?1431631564
The laws about driving an automobile while using opioid analgesics differ from country to country.

Many researchers agree that opioids can impair driving skills, especially in the opiate naive population being treated for acute injuries. However, some studies have demonstrated that impairment depends on the type of medication being used.

Methadone is notorious for causing drowsiness. Buprenorphine also has impairment potential. Both of these medications are used in the treatment of addiction, but methadone is also a powerful analgesic. Those who use methadone against pain must be especially careful against driving while impaired.

I once drove 1000 miles while using a large dose of methadone and had to stop every few hours to nap. Fortunately, there are plenty of rest stops along the interstates that allowed me to stretch out and catch an hour's sleep.

Other opiates can also cause impairment -- you must be aware of this fact and listen to your body. If you're feeling sleepy, pull over and rest. Get a cup of coffee. Being on time is not worth the risk of serious injury to yourself and others. If you are required to drive at a certain time (to pick up children, for example), plan your medication around your schedule. Remember there are alternatives to driving -- neighbors and volunteers from your church, taxies, services for the disabled. Learn how to use these resources.

While some studies demonstrate that the risk of accident while driving for chronic pain patients maintained on a stable dose of opioid medication are no more that those risks in the general population, most are unaware of these facts, including police.

Be careful what you transport in your car, and know the laws in your area.

I've been using opioid pain medication for over 30 years, and live in a rural area, so daily driving has been a part of my life for all these years. Just use common sense, and always protect your medications. Never travel with more than you need, keep them in pharmacy bottles with proper labels, and place them securely in a locked bag.

When I travel internationally, I take a photocopy of my prescriptions. This can help with customs in certain locations.

These days the world is very sensitive to opioid medications (especially in America, home of the "war on drugs.") Be smart, be discreet. Know the law, and know your rights.
3112530 tn?1434035633
Your information was very helpful. Thank you.
I will be traveling with morphine but I do not drive. I will bring my prescription bottle with me but I do take more than one medication (not opioid) and I hope the police can understand why a person does not want to bring all their prescription bottles (or should I say, the court understand??) I hope this will not be a problem but I will find out IF my driver gets stopped.
I have 12 bottles of prescription medication (not including over the counter vitamins and the like) and cannot bring the whole thing (the box I keep them in) because I am visiting a relative and they don't need to see all my medication (especially since this is my first visit).
The stories I am reading are horrible but understanding that common sense applies. No one should be taking an opioid medication and driving no matter how they 'feel'. If you are in that much pain that you need this type of medication, understanding what opioid drugs do to the brain and how it will affect you. You may not notice a difference mentally but the drug does work in the brain and this drug can be detected by a blood test. Driving while on this medication can impair you in many ways, ways you may not realize.
If I ever get hit by a car and I think the driver is impaired, I will sue for everything that driver has. I watch drivers when they make a turn and only look ONE WAY!!! Other drivers are on the phone.
These are situations to watch out for and if you ever stand on a corner, watch the driver and how they use their 'driving skills'. The think about if you were crossing the street!
Common sense does not seem to apply to drivers.
Use your common sense so that situation that are described here, DON'T HAPPEN TO YOU.
3112530 tn?1434035633
'Therefore for me if you as I have been taking something for years then we know the effects of the medicine and can justify there is no risk at that point.'
I think you could be so wrong on this point!!!
Most opioid medication works on the perception or pain. It starts in the brain and works throughout the body.
You may not feel pain BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR OTHER SENSES ARE NOT BEING AFFECTED? Opioid medication dulls the senses.
I hope you are not on the road because I would be the first person to sue you if you ever hit me in an accident.
7721494 tn?1431631564
Hi Madman,

I have a small fireproof safe made by Sentry that has a handle and is easy to transport. When I travel with all my medications by car (which has been often these past 4 years), I put them into this locked safe which is the size of a small briefcase (although quite heavy.)

It looks something like this:


My driving skill is diminished, more by age (I'm in my 60s), than by any medication I'm currently taking. I am aware of this, and take it slow (most of the time), but especially on long trips. However, I'm fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, so taking my time as the scenery passes by is a great pleasure.

You are correct about cell phones being the scourge of the roads. Don't get me started....

Take care buddy, and good luck with move.

My best for the holiday season to you and yours.

3112530 tn?1434035633
Thanks for reminding me about the safe. I know that police cannot search your vehicle without probable cause. I know that they cannot search my cell phone if I have a code on it (which I do). I imagine the safe box has the same 'restrictions'. Good reminder.

This Christmas season is going to be a busy season for me because of moving. I am looking forward to the move. I need the change of scenery.
Wishing you and your family the best of the Christmas season.
Your help has been instrumental and I thank you for all that you have offered.
Happy Christmas...
7721494 tn?1431631564
Thank you, MadMan.

As always, it is a pleasure to help. You too have helped me and many others with your friendship and support. We chronic painers have to stick together and support each other, especially during a time when many cannot find treatment.

I know we'll be in touch. I'm looking forward to hearing about the new surroundings.
I just found this site and last Friday I had an incident happen to me regarding my Pharmacy indicating in the Dispensed Drug system in the state of Illinois that I had picked up my prescriptions for Hydrocodone and Fentanyl Patch, when I had not done so.  This is what happened.  Friday was the day I could fill my new prescriptions for the month and I called the Pharmacy and placed my order.  Just a few minutes later, the pharmacy called me back and told me they did not have the correct dose of the Fentanyl Patch and would be receiving it on Monday.  I was out of medication and knew that I could not or should not do without that medication.  I told them I would call my doctor and have her call it into a different pharmacy (it is actually electronically sent to the pharmacy).  I did not pick up the other script, or anything on Friday.  Instead, I called Kroger Pharmacy and inquired if they had the correct dose of Fentanyl Patch on hand.  After finding out that they had it, I called my doctor's office and explained the problem I was facing and asked if they would send (transfer) all my prescriptions to the Kroger Pharmacy in Carbondale.  The other Pharmacy would no longer be my Pharmacy.  After making another call on Friday to my doctor, I still had not received a call telling me I could pick up my prescription.  On Monday, I received a text message from my doctor's office stating that since I picked up my Hydrocodone and Fentanyl on Friday, she was transferring my other prescriptions to Kroger, but the other two would be sent to Kroger Pharmacy at the next fill.  WRONG@@@!! I did not get those two filled on Friday and so I called Doctor office and stated that I did not pick up those scripts, please send in the script.  I made another call to Doctor office later that day stating that I was having "strange, bug feel crawling all over my body and I was "pooping on myself with no warning".  I asked them to please hurry and get those scripts called in.  On Tuesday, I started my day calling doctor again and asking same question...please send the script in.  I then called the old pharmacy and asked them to PLEASE call my doctor and tell them that I did NOT fill those scripts on Friday and ask that they send the scripts to Kroger Pharmacy ASAP.  On Wednesday, I found out that the Pharmacist at Kroger was also calling my doctor asking for them to expedite the sending of the scripts.  Wednesday afternoon, I called my doctor one more time inquiring as to when I might expect to receive the call saying they were filled.  I was told that my Doctor's office knew that I DID NOT PICK THEM UP FRIDAY, but they were trying to find a doctor to sign off on the scripts as Wednesday is my doctor's day off.  DEA is taking this drug problem for legitimate pain patients way too far.  I have tons of documentation that I need these meds to have a somewhat normal life.  I was a very sick person by the time I did finally get those scripts.  I was in withdrawals and had nothing I could take.  My husband came home from work to find me with a gun in my hand, searching for a bullet. I was actually tearing the house up looking for the one bullet to do the job.  I hate guns and have NEVER EVEN HELD ONE BEFORE.  This shows what sudden and cold withdrawals will do to a person that needs that medication.  I am now wondering if I can sue the Pharmacy for incorrectly indicating that I picked up those scripts.  Does anyone know?????  I seriously would sue just about anyone if I could keep from going through that awful, terrifying experience again.  Thank you. Sorry it is such a long post.  June 11, 2018
Avatar universal
There Is a 92 Year Old Woman That Lives Down The Street From Me...I Used to Help Her With Anything/Everything  I Could...Until She Started Blaming Me For Every Little Thing That Happened...Example...I Trimmed Her Trees So She Could Drive into Her Driveway Without Hitting Them(only what was Necessary)...I Then Hauled All The Debris away...About a Year Later...A Couple Trees Died From Beetle Kill(The Beetles Bad In this Part Of Colorado)...YET...She Was Saying It Was Because I Trimmed Them...If That Were The Case ALL My Trees Would Be Dead...Then Two Died a Little Later That I Did Not Even Touch...Along With Many Other Trivial Things...I Just Got Tired Of Busting My *** and Going Out Of My Way To Help Her Maintain Her Property...Therefore ...I Had Just Stopped Going Over To Visit and Do...She Stops By When She Wants Something...Like the Other Day She Could Not Open Her Tailgate on Her Subaru Baja Car...She Came to My Gate and Started Honking and Then Stood If Front Of Her Car(Holding onto it to Keep From Falling) Started Yelling Something...I Could Not Hear A Word She Was Saying...It Was Windy and I Was A good Distance From Her...I Happened to Be Outside Unloading My Groceries At The Time...I Did Go Up and Found Out What ALL The Yelling Was About...Then I Helped Her With Her Problem...She Can Hardly Walk...And Is Very Unstable While Just Standing...She can NOT Back Her Vehicle Into My Driveway to Turn around (I Have Very Large Gates that I Can Drive Through With a Large Motor Coach And a Enclosed Car Hauler Trailer on the Back Of it)...She Does Not See Me Wave When We pass...Her going Home Me Leaving Home...Yet...She Still Has a Drivers License??? I Also Notice More Dings and Dents Every time I See Her Car...Also...She is on NO Medication???
Avatar universal

Well...I Carry ALL My Meds(even My Syringes/Needles) With Me Every Where I Go...If The are Stolen While I am Not At Home...The VA will NOT REPLACE THEM...IF I Hide Them and Forget Where I Hid Them(PTSD Does That To You Sometimes)...I have Hid a Bottle One Time about a Year and a Half Ago...I Tore My Place Apart...Still Haven't Found It...The VA will NOT REPLACE Them...
Avatar universal
In Kentucky you can go to your pharmacy and ask for a travel bottle. They are around $2 each and can save a lot of headaches...
I carry a travel bottle locally but when I go for road trips I carry all my medication in the original container...if I get pulled over will I be charged with fui if I have a minor accident?
7721494 tn?1431631564
It is always best to keep controlled medications in a fireproof safe that is bolted to a floor or wall.

These safes are available at business supply stores for under $200, and are quite effective for securing medication, valuables, and data.
Avatar universal
I do the same thing keep most in one bottle because it takes up too much space and i dont want them to get stollen, long story short my husband was arrested on fri for taking his prescribed narco 5 hrs earlier! If you google it says you cant drive on any prescribed meds sooo i loose both my jobs and my husband cant pick up our son from work? This is completely wrong! On top of it the state pig who arrested him was flying down dixie hwy without his headlights on and almost killed us! If it wasn't for my husbands quick reaction time i wouldn't be here to tell this story and believe me theres more to it!
547368 tn?1440545385
This is a frightening subject. For those of us that have taken opiates for years and must drive what are we to do - besides the obvious - drive safely n pray!t

I've heard all kinds of stories. An employee was ticketed for failing to have her opiates in the RX bottle they came in. Another person was ticketed for carrying too many opiates. He had just filled his opiate RX a few days earlier and was carrying them - in the original container - on a short trip.  

It depends on the officer and how they interpret the law. Once you're in court the charges get sorted out - but the PM patients always lose!

It's a difficult situation. I am an astute driver. I've never been ticketed. I am far less impaired than those ppl that are texting or using social media devices. I'm far less impaired than the senior citizen that can't see over the steering wheel or reflexes are greatly reduced. I'm less impaired than the person that just slammed 2 drinks. I am less impaired than that newly licensed driver - or the mom with a blinding headache and 3 kids screaming in the car - or the dad that is late for work.

I venture to say I am less impaired than most drivers and far less impaired than some - but the law says we are impaired. Drive and we roll the dice - no ifs, ands or buts about it. We're guilty. (I have two police officers in my immediate family and that's where I am getting my information.)  We don't have a legal leg to stand on. So be cautious if you must drive - if you can avoid it - don't drive and keep all medications locked in your trunk. If you do nothing wrong and are struck by another driver you may still be ticketed for an OUI.

Don't give permission for a search - that includes your purse if you carry one. An officer has the right to "look" into your purse if it is open and visible - not search but look. If you do have your meds in there make sure they are in a zippered area, out of sight. If he sees a bottle of any medication and you were stopped for a violation they can make that into probably cause and search.

The laws are not with us - and it's even worse with the War on Us - not drugs - us.

Just my two cents worth.

When the DEA made everyone visit their doctor to pick up a handwritten, signed prescription every month, why didn't they follow the law on this?  They were setting patients up to be pulled over for driving under the influence and did not give us a choice.
547368 tn?1440545385
I usually recommend beginning a new thread - as this is very old. In this instance I think there is a lot of good information here on an on-going and important issue for all opiate therapy Chronic Pain patients.

Remember the 'laws" that may have been quoted, linked or referred to in 2009 or thereafter may have changed. Also remember that laws vary state by state. Sandee1818 resides in FL - or at least she did when she posted this thread.  

Always know the current laws that are applicable in your specific state and any state that you may travel through.

Be Safe My Friends,
Avatar universal
These charges are seldom "federal" charges, as you stated them to be, but rather "state" or "local" charges. There is a huge difference. Ignorance if the laws is never an excuse either, I'm sorry for your plight. Many, many drug abusers tell that story, but that us all it is. I am not suggesting that to be your case. Consider how massive the pill epidemic is and his many lives are list. There must be controls. Just keep your "controlled" Meds in their promoter container. Have a pretty day now.
Avatar universal
So Marc, how massive is this "pill epidemic"? And please compare it to the other drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, mistaken diagnoses, botched surgeries, etc. This witch hunt is beyond ridiculous.
Avatar universal
Unfortunately in Alabama I have suffered 2 DUI arrests. I did not know there was a law that you can be arrested if an officer thinks you are on a controlled substance. 1st time cost me and because I was clueless that a law like this existed I continued of course to follow my pain doctors orders. 2nd time. Simply sleepy no meds. Just fatigued was arrested for dui. No lab testing no nothing this one is taxing on my wallet and my family.  So when in alabama beware you can be prescribed pain meds and go to jail. *** for tat
Avatar universal
Very similar thing happened to me. However, you are either leaving something ou or not fully aware of the actual law versus what the charge is.  I was arrested for being in possession of narcotics (a few.pills In days supply) and crossing state lines which meant I was charged with trafficking! The law has ALWAYS BEEN YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR MEDS IN A LABELED BOTTLE. THAT IS NOT NEW. However, in cases where it's clear legal bs and police using the law to do what they want not what is legal etc..the DA was pissed as was the judge for the police wasting everyones time and the DA apologized. I live in MA and his was in NH.
..anyone who knows area knows.how strict the legal system is surrounding narcotics because of the "opiate epidemic"
.which is a joke as the police and politicians are making it worse for the law abiding citizens. Regardless, if you are stating the facts you need to go above the DA. The attorney general. Again this is not new
Avatar universal
You were WELL within your rights,  this made me sick to read… Sick for a you!
Avatar universal
Your stories make me so mad and they break my heart. We CPP's already have to go through so much with our Drs and pharmacies. We shouldn't have to be put in jail for carrying our medications. Do they expect us to leave all meds at home when we go somewhere? I didn't read through all of the comments so I don't know if any of you found laws about carrying our mes in our cars. To the people who had to spend time in jail, I am so very sorry you had to go through something so terrible. Not many of us carry a full bottle of meds around with us at all times because we do have to worry about them being lost or stolen. This whole opiod crisis is completely out of control. There is no crisis! I watched a medical show the other day and they said that opiod abuse has done nothing but go way down in the last 4 years. Now we have a heroin epidemic. What is the government going to do about that? The heroin is not coming from Drs so they can't come after them. As hard of we CPP's are fighting for our rights I feel like we're losing the fight. Our Drs aren't standing up for us and that's one of the biggest problems. They're so scared they could get in to trouble. What about the oath they took? First, do no harm. That's exactly what they're doing by not standing up for us and either denying us treatment or completely taking our meds away.
20877406 tn?1558660182
There is no law of any kind that makes what you did illegal, but it is the mandate of the police departments to "invent " charges after they make a stop to bolster their arrest rate and secure more federal dollars for doing so.

Not to mention the advancement system in every police department for the number of arrests you make a week. As a retired Fireman who has worked "shoulder to shoulder" with these people for over three decades I am aware of their nonsense. For me that would be like drowning ever source of flame I see with out regard to its purpose, like a pig roast, or brush fire a citizen obtained a permit for, etc; just so I would advance in rank and our department would get more funding. How ridiculous.

So your policeman charged you with a different crime than the one he told you about. You can prove this by requesting your criminal record online from the State Patrol in your state. It costs 15-25 dollars, so do not use the online services who charge your credit card over and over until you catch them and turn them in. Just go to for instance -
EXAMPLE: https://statepatrol.nebraska.gov/services/criminal-history-record-requests
and pay a small fee to get a read out of your record. It will not go into detail, but it will list all that you were charged with and I am confident you will not find what you were told by the policeman who arrested you on that report.

Having told you this, understand that the COP's & the Courts are supportive of each other so there will be little if anything you can do about it.
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