It is illegal to knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained with a valid prescription (TN Code § 39-17-418). But can you be charged with a drug crime or held liable if someone has stolen your prescriptions?
Theft of Prescription Medication
If your friend steals your Adderall or Xanax, you may worry that you can be found guilty of a drug crime. While it is illegal to share pills with friends who don’t have a prescription, they are solely on the hook if they steal your prescriptions without your knowledge.
What If They Stole Pills with the Intent to Sell?
In Tennessee, simple possession and possession with intent are the two primary types of drug possession charges. Simple possession, which is carrying a controlled substance for personal use, and casual exchange are Class A misdemeanors. Possession with intent involves carrying drugs with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture controlled substances.
Someone who stole your medication may be charged with either of these possession charges. However, if you were an unwitting victim of theft and have a valid prescription, you haven’t committed a crime.
Should I Report Stolen Medication?
Pharmacists (and their employers) are required to report losses of any controlled substances. If you try to obtain a new prescription because of medication theft, some pharmacists may require a police report, especially when it comes to medications that have dispensing monitoring or requirements.
Even with a police report, there is no guarantee that you will be able to refill your prescription early. Other factors, such as your healthcare and insurance provider, can have effects on whether you can replace your stolen medication.
Drug crimes are very serious. Tennessee has specific laws that focus on criminal offenses involving prescription drug abuse. If you have been accused of a drug crime or have any legal questions regarding drug use and laws, you need to contact an experienced attorney.
If you have been charged with a drug crime and need legal advice, you can trust our office. Our criminal defense attorneys at Eldridge & Blakney, PC have over 55 years of combined experience. We have helped thousands of clients and are here to help you through the legal process. For a complimentary case evaluation, call our office at (865) 544-2010 or complete our online contact form.