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Is It a Crime to Pick Up Someone’s Prescription Meds For Them?

Posted on December 27, 2021

You’re visiting family or friends in Breckenridge over the holidays. Maybe you’re picking up some last-minute gifts at the neighborhood drug store when your mom texts you and asks if you’ll pick up a refill for her Xanax that’s ready while you’re there.

Perhaps your brother broke his leg skiing. His doctor called in a prescription for oxycodone to the local pharmacy. He’s in no shape to go out, so you offer to get it for him.

Can you pick up these prescriptions – particularly for strong, potentially addictive drugs — for someone else without risking legal jeopardy? Typically, you can pick up someone else’s prescription – controlled substance or not. You should prepare and be aware of a few things before doing so, however.

What Pharmacies Need To Verify

Before picking up someone else’s prescription, the pharmacy will require some things of you. You may need to present a copy of the prescription or other written documentation that the drug was prescribed. You may need to provide evidence that you know the patient – like their date of birth and other private identifying information. Expect to be asked for your own ID as well.

As long as you can show you know the patient and prove who you are, the pharmacist can generally let you pay for and take the prescription. However, all pharmacies and pharmacists are different. To make sure that you can pick up someone else’s prescription, it’s a good idea to call ahead and ask what proof they might need.

Call Ahead Before Getting Prescriptions

It’s always best if the patient calls ahead and lets the pharmacist know who will be picking up their prescription. They may need to provide identifying information about themselves and perhaps about you. They should know whom they’ve spoken to at the pharmacy and find out what information you’ll need to provide when you get there.

A small “mom and pop” pharmacy that knows your family may be easier to deal with than a large drug store chain. However, it depends on the pharmacist you’re dealing with. It’s generally best not to just decide at the last minute that you’re going to do someone a favor and pick up their prescription if they haven’t asked you to and don’t know you’re doing it. You also don’t want to decide that maybe you’ll just keep a pill or two (or more) for your efforts and assume no one will notice.

If you find yourself facing drug charges after picking up a friend’s or relative’s prescription, no matter how innocent your actions were, it’s crucial to take the matter seriously and seek legal guidance.