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When is it legal to possess prescription drugs?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2023 | Drug Charges

It is generally legal in Florida to possess prescription drugs if you obtained them through a valid prescription from a licensed professional. In other words, controlled substances that your doctor prescribes for you are legal for you to possess.

However, allegations involving prescription drugs can be complex because these pharmaceuticals are illegal in some situations and legal in others. This contrasts with substances that are essentially always illegal for you to possess, such as methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin.

Why are prescription drugs different?

Prescription drugs have many of the same psychoactive effects that illicit drugs contain. Some even have similar substances. However, due to a strict manufacturing process and a healthcare system of licensed professionals, you could use prescription drugs effectively to address pain, psychological disorders and other issues.

Who can possess prescription drugs?

The complex system that delivers your drugs to you also allows more people to legally possess the substances. Here are some examples per state law:

  • Licensed professionals and authorized staff at pharmacies and hospitals
  • Medical or pharmaceutical researchers and teachers
  • Someone carrying a permit or letter of exemption
  • Certain government workers

Holding one of these positions does not automatically make it legal for you to possess any controlled substance whenever you see fit. In many cases, you would have to be acting within the scope of your professional duties; delivering a prescription to a patient could be one example.

Even if you have a legal prescription, you might run into issues. One common example is when drugs are not properly labeled. Due to increased health problems from prescription drug misuse, many law-enforcement agencies across the country are following the strictest interpretation of the law in these types of arrests.


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