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
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
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317787 tn?1473362051
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