The 2018-2019 ski season here in Breckenridge is just around the corner. As you plan your trip, you may want to take into consideration whether you will need to refill any prescription medications, or what you will do if something happens and you need a medication while away from home and your regular doctor.

It might start out innocently enough. Perhaps you strain your back or knee while on the slopes or have trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. In any case, you decided to take the painkillers prescribed to someone else in your party. Later, you find yourself stunned because you are under arrest for possession of prescription drugs.

But it’s not an illegal drug

Just because the person you got the medication from originally got it with a doctor’s prescription does not mean that you can possess or take that drug legally. You may be like other people who believe that it is only illegal to possess so-called “street drugs” like heroin, cocaine and more. Since it came from a doctor and a prescription, it’s okay. Right?

Wrong. It is illegal for you to possess or take medication not prescribed to you under state and federal law. First, you have no idea what side effects you could suffer from taking another person’s medication. Second, the government considers some medications, especially painkillers, as narcotics, or controlled substances, and many are opioids.

In fact, the way you carry the medication could even land you in jail. Prescription medications are supposed to remain in their bottles. If you carry some in your pocket, which may be convenient for you at the time, this could make police suspect that you wish to sell them. Facing charges of possession is bad enough, but an accusation of intent to distribute could seriously ruin your vacation.

But I don’t live here full time

If police accuse you of illegally possessing prescription drugs, you may wonder whether you are stuck here in Colorado until the conclusion of your case. This could make it tempting to plead guilty or take a plea deal without first determining whether it would be in your best interests. It could help to know that you may not have to remain in the state while your case moves its way through the system.

You may even arrange to appear telephonically for many of your scheduled appearances. When you do have to appear in person, you could arrange to return. In the meantime, you could remain fully informed regarding the progress of your case while you remain with your family and continue to work and otherwise live your life.